The Philadelphia 76ers will have to get creative this offseason to improve their roster and a blockbuster move for Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal would send a signal that the team is going all-in to capitalize on Joel Embiid’s best years.
Beal is coming off a disappointing year where he played just 40 games for the Wizards and saw his points per game average drop from a whopping 31.3 in 2021 to 23.2 this season. However, he’s still just 28 years old and could be a key piece for a contender, like the Sixers.
Fresh off the Sixers unceremonious playoff exit on Thursday, Bleacher Report proposed a blockbuster deal that would land Beal in Philly in exchange for Tobias Harris. Here’s what B/R’s Joseph Zucker had to say about a possible move:
The 28-year-old has a $36.4 million player option for next year, so it’s not a question of whether the Sixers can make the money work in a Harris sign-and-trade. The issue will be how much more to send to the Wizards for Beal because Harris is a net-negative asset. Would Morey be willing to part with Matisse Thybulle or Tyrese Maxey?
Maxey might be untouchable after averaging 17.5 points and 4.3 assists in his second season. Parting with Thybulle would be a little more palatable, though it would remove the team’s best perimeter defender from the equation.
Beal Has Been Linked to Sixers Previously
The question for Beal will be whether or not he sees a long-term, competitive future in Washington. He’s eligible to sign a $245 million, five-year extension this offseason and said “it’s fair” to say he’s leaning towards that option.
However, there have been various rumors linking Beal to other squads, the Sixers in particular. Sham Charania of The Athletic reported that Philadelphia GM Daryl Morey investigated a trade for Beal during the year but opted for Harden instead.
“The 76ers did their due diligence with the Wizards on Beal throughout the season, but many across the NBA say it was much more than that,” Charnia wrote. “Multiple sources said the 76ers worked during the season on a potential trade. Beal faced a decision on whether to force a trade out of Washington and Philadelphia had prominent interest at the deadline if he was cleared to play from his wrist injury.”
In addition, former NBA big man Andrew Bogut said on his “Rogue Bogues” podcast that Philly wants to form a “big three” with Embiid, James Harden and Beal.
“I’ve heard a pretty big rumor … from some people that are pretty close to the situation in the NBA: Big three to Philly. Brad Beal is trying to get to Philadelphia in the offseason to team up with Harden and Embiid,” Bogut said in March, per NBC Sports. “Philly’s desperate, obviously, to try to get off Harris, anyway. They have been for a while. And I think they’re even more desperate now to free up that cap space somehow. It will most likely have to be a sign-and-trade with Philly. But don’t be surprised if a big three forms in Philly. That’s the word on the street.”
After another earlier-than-expected playoff exit, that might ring even more true this offseason.
James Harden Expects to be With Sixers Going Forward
Before the Sixers start looking at trades, they’ll have to figure out Harden’s future with the team. Harden has a player option for next season for more than $47 million, or he could opt out and hit free agency, hoping for a lucrative long-term deal. Following the Sixers’ playoff exit, Harden said he plans to be in Philadelphia next season.
“I’ll be here,” Harden said.
If he opts out, the Sixers could offer Harden a supermax extension up to $250 million, although there’s a situation where he takes less to help the team build a roster around him. The former MVP was also asked about that route and sounded open to the idea — which might make sense to say publicly after his lackluster postseason.
“Whatever allows us to continue to grow and get better and do the things necessary to win and compete at a high level,” he said.