Wizards ‘Can’t Hurry’ Bradley Beal Trade: NBA GM

Bradley Beal of the Wizards is likely to be traded .. but maybe not soon.

Getty Bradley Beal of the Wizards is likely to be traded .. but maybe not soon.

There is something honorable, no doubt, in the path chosen by Wizards guard Bradley Beal. He has had multiple opportunities, in his 11-year NBA career, to force, push or nudge his way out of Washington, to look for a greener pasture where he’d be better set up to win.

He could have demanded a trade away from the Wizards back in 2019, when the team was coming off a 32-win showing, had dumped Ernie Grunfeld in favor of Tommy Sheppard and looked increasingly adrift. Instead, Beal signed a two-year extension, giving the Wizards time to get their house in order.

He could have sought a trade last year, too, but instead took a five-year, $251 million supermax deal from the Wizards that left him tethered to the organization for as long as the team wanted him there. Beal has shown loyalty to the Wizards organization, though he also admitted he did not have many other options.

The team reciprocated in the only way it could—short of being able to construct a winning roster around Beal, the team has instead paid him richly. It also has empowered him, with a no-trade caluse coming as part of that supermax deal.

But now, with the Wizards badly in need of a rebuild and new hoops honcho Michael Winger taking over the team’s roster, there has been talk of Beal and Washington parting ways. Ideally, it would happen quickly.

Things often down work out in ideal fashion, though. The Wizards are too late to trade Beal in hopes of getting a superstar package in return, but there is hope that he could yet rebuild value.

“They can’t hurry it,” one Eastern Conference general manager said. “If you’re talking about the market value, it’s as low as it has ever been on Brad. He only plays half your games and he is not playing at the same level he was. There is more risk if you are taking him right now than if you are Washington trading him away. Right now, you can get him for cap relief but you’re not going to a big package of picks.

“They’d be better off waiting, let him get on the floor and let him shine a little bit.”

Cap Relief Available to Wizards in a Beal Trade

If cap relief is all the Wizards are after, that won’t be hard to find. Beal is slated to make $46 million next season, and $50.3 million the year after that. In 2025-26, he will make $53.7 million, and has a player option for $57.1 million in the final year of his current deal.

He will be the fourth-highest paid player in the NBA next season.

If Beal wanted to go to Miami, the Heat could send out Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson, who are owed $87 million combined over the next three years (Lowry is in the final year of his contract). The Heat would not have to send out much more because (A) Beal has veto power over a trade and (B) the savings the Heat can offer might be as good as the Wizards could do for Beal.

The Clippers and Suns are other teams to watch for Beal, with payroll savings also being their chief bargaining chips. If a trade is to happen this offseason, the Wizards—and, by extension, Beal—have to count on one of those would-be contenders to be desperate enough to get Beal that they’ll find a way to load their offers with picks or young players.

With questions about Beal on the floor and bigger questions about how much he is being paid off it, a quick resolution here would not be in the Wizards’ best interests.

Health Has Been a Problem for Bradley Beal

It is no secret as to why Beal’s value has taken such a healthy blow: He can’t stay healthy. He has had wrist surgery twice, and has had persistent problems with his knees and hamstrings. After playing all 82 in back-to-back seasons from 2017-19, Beal missed seven games in 2019-20 and did not participate in the league Orlando bubble reset.

In his last three seasons, Beal has played in 150 of 236 games. The Wizards were decent enough when he played—73-77—but terrible when he was out, going 31-55. Along the way, Beal has seen his individual numbers slide, from 30.5 points per game in 2019-20 and 31.3 points in 2020-21, down to 23.3 points in each of the past two years.

Beal has been more averse on contact in his last two seasons, averaging just 4.8 free throws per game, well down from the 7.8 attempts he averaged the previous two years. Beal turns 30 next week, and there’s still some belief he can show he is healthy and bolster his trade value.

“If I was the one trading for him, I’d be a lot more comfortable doing it after I see him put together some healthy stretches, get his old scoring touch back, really show he is still an All-Star type of player,” the GM said. “Right now, if you trade for him, you are taking that as an article of faith. You’re hoping he can get back to being himself.

“I am not giving up three first-rounders for a hope. I want to see that he is still a guy who can go for 30 (points) and 10 (assists) on any given night.”

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