Bradley Beal: The Hot Commodity
If you are the Washington Wizards you are looking at a 3-8 record, a rising center out for the season in Thomas Bryant, an overpaid Davis Bertans and a now injured superstar in Russell Westbrook. Bradley Beal is balling out, but it still does little to impact the win column. The win totals may not be piling, but the trade stock of Beal is soaring, and after the recent trade of James Harden, teams will certainly be looking to do whatever it takes to keep pace. The Wizards now find themselves needing to decide if they envision a winning culture with Beal and his supporting cast in the near future. If they find that they don't feel this is the right group to move forward with, then assuredly the rebuild begins with trading Bradley Beal. I will first explain what teams would be getting in a player such as Beal. I then am going to name six teams that I believe could fit Beal into their lineups well, as well as lay out what types of trade chips they have at their disposal that may entice the Wizards.
(Note: These are all their reasonably available pieces. I am not saying these teams should trade every single piece for Beal, nor what packages they should put together for him)
Beal is a two time all-star and is only 27 years old. Beal is currently averaging 35 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game with an added 1.4 steals per game. While he has been knocked at times by the media for poor defense, I believe you can chock that up to minimal team defense being played by the Wizards as a whole. Beal is shooting 49% from the field and 38% from three point land, making Beal what the kid's call a "walking bucket." Beal is on the final year of his current contract which sees him making $28.75 million against the salary cap. If your team is looking for points, and a lot of them at that, Bradley Beal is your guy. Now that we know what teams are looking at, let's see which teams I feel should make a pitch for Beal.
Available Players: Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross, Mohamed Bamba, Khem Birch, Cole Anthony (maybe, though counter-intuitive).
Available Draft Picks: The Magic still hold the rights to all of their picks until 2028 other than a couple second-round picks. The Orlando Magic are largely being carried by the play of Nikola Vucevic. The loss of Markelle Fultz cannot be overstated, but their first-round pick from the most recent draft, Cole Anthony, is stepping up admirably. If the Wizards can find a package based on the assets available above, I believe the Magic would really step their odds up in the East with a pairing of Vucevic and Beal. Vucevic is slept on heavily because he is in a market that does not get a ton of media attention, but he is as much a star as most in this league. Beal coming in would do wonders for spacing the floor and would make the Magic a nightmare to defend. A real kicker here would be if the teams could agree on a deal that would keep Aaron Gordon in Orlando. Vucevic, Beal and Gordon, while not the most breathtaking trio, would certainly put up a fight with everyone night in and night out.
Available Players: Gary Harris, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr. (maybe, but not much more with him), Facundo Campazzo, R.J. Hampton, Bol Bol, P.J. Dozier, Monte Morris, Zeke Nnaji.
Available Draft Picks: The Nuggets own all of their first-round picks until 2028 except for one that may become available to the OKC Thunder if the Nuggets do not finish in the top 14 of the draft order in 2023. They also have every second-round draft pick available from 2023 on.
The Nuggets, while starting slow, are undoubtedly a serious contender in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokic has been on an elite, MVP-like pace and point guard Jamal Murray is starting to really put his game back together as of late. With a uniquely talented center like Jokic anything is possible for this Nuggets squad. His passing ability at the position is rivaled by none and I'm sure he would be enthralled with the idea of adding an elite scorer such as Beal. Beal would have no lack of work offensively as Jokic and Murray would look to him at every turn. This is easily one of the most tantalizing options for Beal to want to play for. The Nuggets also have the convenience of an incredible variety of options they could look at to offer to the Wizards for Beal's services.
Available Players: Shake Milton, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Tony Bradley, Dakota Mathias, Paul Reed, Isaiah Joe. Available Draft Picks: The 76ers are incredibly well stocked in the draft picks department as they tote 9 first-round picks and 19 second-round picks within the next 8 drafts. The Philadelphia 76ers appear to be on a war path to the playoffs. Joel Embiid is playing out of his mind as he, much like Jokic, has to be in the conversation for MVP at this point. Ben Simmons is settling into his role as a primary playmaker and is flourishing in it. Lastly, Tobias Harris is playing remarkably, and I can't deny it. The thing about the 76ers though, is they are a great shooting team this season. They are also a great team defense squad. I think the argument can be made that a trade package involving Tobias Harris to land Bradley Beal will not impact the team negatively on the defensive end. Add the fact that Beal is currently the leagues most dangerous weapon and this ends up looking like a no-brain, home-run move for the 76ers. You don't lose a ton on the defensive end because a lot of what makes your team great on defense is scheme (and elite defenders at point guard and center), and you can add even more high level scoring. Sometimes you have to make that big splash move to keep pace when a new super trio rises in your conference.
Golden State Warriors
Available Players: Eric Paschall, Damion Lee, Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre Jr., Kevon Looney, Jordan Poole, Draymond Green, Nico Mannion. Available Draft Picks: The Warriors have all of their first round picks up to 2028 and they also own the rights to Minnesota's first-round pick in 2021. However, the pick turns into a first-round pick in 2022 if the Timberwolves finish in the top three in the draft order. They also have all of their second-round picks and a handful of others they have acquired via trade. This is likely the most unrealistic trade idea, but hey, these guys brought KD in that one time. Steph Curry is doing everything in his power to keep this team afloat as his Splash Brother heals up once again. I think it goes without saying that this team is not trying to win games on the defensive end, though I will commend Draymond for showing a ton of leadership in their own end. If the Warriors landed Beal they would instantly be a legitimate playoff threat in the Western Conference. Steph Curry has proven he can play nice with anyone and I think he would be thrilled to replace the poor shooting the team has suffered from this year with the likes of Bradley Beal.
Available Draft Picks: The Heat have all of their first-round picks until 2028. Their second-round picks are kind of confusing and super hard to follow, but they have a decent amount of those as well. People are going to freak out that I have Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson on there, but I just want to quickly remind you that Bradley Beal is leading the NBA in scoring and is 27 years old. Now that everyone's done yelling at me, let's talk about Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Bradley Beal. Scoring, defence, and leadership is a beautiful package that goes a long way come playoff time. I have little doubt that the Wizards would strong arm the Heat for a major package, but boy would that be a nasty trio. They call Pat Riley the "Godfather" for a reason. He is smart, he has his eyes on everyone, but most importantly he knows when to pull the trigger. The time may be now.
Available Players: Jalen Brunson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Willie Cauley-Stein, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson, Tyrell Terry, Tyler Bey. Available Draft Picks: The Mavericks are in the worst shape for first-round picks as they do not have one in 2021 or 2023 (2023 is top ten protected). They do however have their 2022 first-round pick as well as all first-round picks from 2024 on. The Mavericks have maintained most of their second-round picks to this point. For this one to happen, the Mavericks will have to get creative and likely include a third, or even fourth team. This would be another big splash move that likely would leave the Mavericks looking like the Nets. They would boast three stars, no bench and no future. It sounds insane when you say it out loud, but if the Nets can do it, then so can the Mavericks. Luka Doncic is an MVP favourite and he recently got his running mate Kristaps Porzingis back. The Mavericks would add a whole new wrinkle to this already very potent offence if they were to bring in Beal. For the Mavs to decide to pursue Beal, they would need to ask themselves if those three are good enough to win a title. If not, it would be a long, sad tenure for Doncic in Dallas as the perennial bridesmaid.
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