On August 30, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report published a column called “Realistic Trade Packages for Every NBA Team’s Worst Contract.” In the story, Buckley proposed that the Phoenix Suns trade Bradley Beal and three future draft picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for James Harden (10-time All-Star) and PJ Tucker (NBA champion).
“If the Suns wound up shopping Beal, they’d almost certainly be looking for a star,” Buckley wrote. “They’ve already splurged on two (Beal and Kevin Durant), and they clearly think stacking them is the key to delivering the franchise’s first NBA title. Phoenix has been identified as a possible Harden suitor before, and you could make the case his playmaking ability would have more impact than Beal’s scoring since both would functionally fill third-option roles behind Durant and Kevin Booker.
“The Suns could also get Tucker in the deal, both to make the money work and to address some of their depth issues on the wing.”
The Suns acquired Beal from the Washington Wizards on June 23. Beal averaged 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists last season in 50 games.
A three-time All-Star, Beal will make $46.7 million next season. The Florida product has career averages of 22.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Zach Buckley: Bradley Beal Is a ‘High-Volume, Moderately Efficient Scorer With Injury Issues’
Buckley believes Beal is a “high-volume, moderately efficient scorer with injury issues.” The Bleacher Report writer thinks you “could easily argue” that Beal has the worst contract in the NBA.
“Beal’s contract was the kind of overpay that didn’t require a waiting period to evaluate,” Buckley wrote. “There were red flags flying from the start, particularly since it inexplicably included a no-trade clause granting tremendous leverage to someone who isn’t universally regarded as a top-30 player. He is a high-volume, moderately efficient scorer with injury issues in his past and his age-30 season fast approaching. You could easily argue this is the league’s worst contract.”
The Suns likely won’t trade Beal for Harden and Tucker. However, it’s evident that Buckley believes Phoenix should consider trading Beal in the future.
Clippers, Magic & Rockets Forwards Dubbed Suns’ Top Trade Targets
Los Angeles Clippers small forward Nicolas Batum, Orlando Magic small forward Joe Ingles and Houston Rockets small forward Jae’Sean Tate have been named the Suns‘ top trade targets.
On August 28, Buckley wrote about why the Suns should target Batum, Ingles and Tate.
“Because the Suns had such a limited budget after the Beal deal, they had to take a lot of risks: that Eric Gordon wouldn’t swiftly decline; that Yuta Watanabe and Keita Bates-Diop wouldn’t be over their heads in full-time roles on winning teams; that Bol Bol wouldn’t physically break down,” Buckley wrote. “There’s a chance Phoenix is rewarded for all of this risk-taking, but there are myriad ways in which things could go wrong.
“That’s why the Suns’ search for role players could carry over into the regular season. They still couldn’t aim very high, but maybe an established veteran like Batum or Ingles would be a modest upgrade. Tate, meanwhile, might be one trade away from earning glue-guy status by making a host of hustle plays for a winning team.”
Batum averaged 6.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Clippers last season, Ingles averaged 6.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the Milwaukee Bucks and Tate averaged 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Rockets.