The Bradley Beal Sweepstakes may finally be heating up.
There's been smoke around Beal's name for well over a year now.
As teams hunt for the next disgruntled star to trade for, Beal has
popped out as an ideal target.
First and foremost, he's really freakin' good at basketball.
Beal is averaging a 29-5-5 stat line over the past three seasons on
a robust 58.4% True Shooting percentage (TS%). Known as an elite
shooting prospect coming out of Florida many years ago, Beal has
transformed himself into one of the most complete offensive players
in the sport.
His 35.1% clip on threes over the past three seasons undersells
his shooting ability. His volume (7.3 attempts per game) and degree
of difficulty -- he takes a ton of threes off the bounce -- factor
into that lower-than-you-think number. At this point, the
three-point shooting complements the rest of this game, not the
other way around.
There aren't many better slashers than Beal. While not a
LaVine-like leaper, Beal uses his lower body strength, varying
stride length and keen understanding of body angles to generate
good looks -- and does so often. He's converted at least 60% of his
shots inside of three feet in all but one season of his career, and
is now a regular at the free-throw line.
Beyond that, Beal may finally be ready to look for greener
pastures. He's been steadfast in his desire to build something
in Washington, provided that they build a winner around him. And to
the team's credit, genuine efforts have been made. Most notably,
the Wizards traded former franchise cornerstone John Wall in a deal
for Russell Westbrook to add much-needed star power to the
Ultimately, it hasn't worked thus far. Combine that with Beal's
contract status, and it's easy to see why things are starting to
come to a head. According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer,
Beal may make a decision on his future as early as this week.
If a trade request does come, here are a few teams that should
throw their hats in the ring for the All-Star guard.
The connection between Beal and Jayson Tatum is an obvious one.
Depending on what some of the teams on the fringes decide to do, a
strong argument could be made for Jaylen Brown being the best
player that could be offered to Washington.
The Wizards would likely ask for more -- picks, prospects like
Robert Williams and/or Payton Pritchard, and maybe Marcus Smart, as
well. The Celtics wouldn't have to bend on literally all of it, but
this is more so to show that they have the assets necessary to
The Sixers desperately need a boost in three-level shot
creation. In addition, they need a boost in half-court playmaking.
Beal would provide both of those things, the former in
The bag of opinions on Ben Simmons is mixed right now, but he's
still a young All-Star that's locked in long-term. The Sixers have
more to offer on the asset front -- specifically Tyrese Maxey and
Matisse Thybulle -- if it comes down to it.
The Raptors may not be openly shopping any of their core guys or
the No. 4 pick, but they also don’t seem overly attached to anyone
outside of OG Anunoby. The Raptors can get in the dance if they
want; how many teams are beating two of Pascal Siakam, Fred
VanVleet or Anunoby, plus (future) pick capital? Not many, from my
Of course, the question of Beal re-signing would make the
Raptors antsy. You also don't want to remove too much of the
defensive infrastructure if you're bringing Beal in. This remains
one of my favorite landing spots for Beal if the Raptors are
serious about him, though.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
The Warriors fit seems a bit wonky to me -- Steph Curry, Beal
and post-post-injury Klay Thompson doesn't scream "elite defense,"
for whatever that's worth to you -- but it's hard to fault the Warriors for being
interested. That is a ton of offensive firepower, and Steph
deserves to have someone to spell him of some of his on-ball
Andrew Wiggins gives you the salary. James Wiseman is (Golden
State's version of) the blue-chipper. Two lottery picks (No. 7, No.
14) this season, plus virtually all of their first-rounders moving
forward, give the Warriors enough ammo to put together an
The Hawks are fresh off a surprise Eastern Conference Finals
appearance. They have their clear alpha in Trae Young, and are
primed for a consolidation deal as payday nears for some of their
They're not going to be able to -- well, they're just
not going to -- pay all of John Collins, De'Andre
Hunter, Cam Reddish, Onyeka Okongwu and Kevin Huerter over the next
three offseasons. A combination of two, maybe three of those guys
plus picks could get a conversation started.
They're in the Atlanta class for me, but I'd love to
see the Grizzlies take a shot at Beal. They have a good enough mix
of young pieces, veterans and pick capital to get on the phone at
least. The real make-or-break component of this is if they'd be
willing to part with Jaren Jackson Jr. -- because the Wizards would
rightfully ask for him. From Memphis' side, the point of a Beal
trade would be to form a Big Three with him, Jackson Jr., and Ja
Morant. Beyond that, they'd have to be certain that Beal would want
to re-sign. Improbable, but not impossible is how I'd view it.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
Even after their deal with the Grizzlies, the
Pelicans still have picks to dangle from the Anthony Davis and Jrue
Holiday trades, plus young prospects (Nickeil Alexander-Walker,
Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr.) to toss in. They, uh, also have
Brandon Ingram to headline a deal if it comes down to it, though
the Pelicans would obviously prefer not to do so.
The Heat have been linked to Beal for the entirety of this
process. I would imagine that two things are true: Wizards brass
doesn't view Tyler Herro as lowly as NBA Twitter does at this
point, but it's also unlikely that they view him as a blue-chipper.
Without a bunch of firsts and swaps to throw in (thanks, OKC), the
Heat would need Beal to push for them specifically. That's not
impossible, but it's hard to justify them as a top-tier destination
with that many hoops to jump through.
The Nuggets can get into this if they want to with a package
built around Michael Porter Jr. Healthy Jamal Murray, Beal and
Nikola Jokic is enough to guarantee an elite offense year round.
The funky question I don't have a real grasp for yet: Do you trust
Beal or Porter Jr. more on the defensive end at this point?