Washington Wizards Explore Trade Options for All-Star Guard Bradley Beal

Posted on: June 15, 2023, 10:15h. 

Last updated on: June 15, 2023, 10:38h.

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is the latest NBA All-Star involved in off-season trade rumors. A dozen teams are interested in adding Beal in a trade, and several title contenders are confident Beal is the precise superstar to put them over the top.

Bradley Beal
Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal smirks during a game at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C. (Image: Getty)

Beal, 29, has four years remaining on a five-year contract worth $251 million.

Beal is one of those rare stars who’s the subject of seasonal trade rumors. His name pops up every January leading up to the NBA trade deadline in February. Multiple teams contact the Wizards about acquiring Beal in a trade, and the front office politely listens to everyone’s pitch. But they never actually make an effort to complete the trade.

That was before the Wizards hired a new general manager in Will Dawkins. The new regime will explore every possible option to improve the Wizards, which includes moving Beal in a blockbuster trade.

ESPN reported that Wizards president Michael Winger and Mark Bartelstein from Priority Sports, who represents Beal, are discussing trade options.

Beal had an off year in 2022-23 and missed 30 games with various injuries, including a lingering sore hamstring. He averaged 23.2 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game last season. He was limited to 40 games in the 2021-22 season by a wrist injury, which required season-ending surgery.

Beal averaged 30-plus points per game in consecutive seasons and contended for an NBA scoring title in 2019-20 and 2020-21. He averaged a career-high 31.3 points per game in 2020-21, although Steph Curry edged him out for the NBA scoring title in the final weekend of the season.

Wizards +30000 Odds to Win NBA Title

The Wizards have posted five consecutive losing seasons. Weirdly enough, they secured the #8 seed in the playoffs in the 2020-21 pandemic-shortened season with a 34-38 record.

The Wizards failed to qualify for the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament twice in the last two seasons when they finished in 12th place with an identical 35-47 record.

The Wizards are currently in the no-man’s land of terrible teams with a superstar. They were not good enough for a shot at the play-in tournament, but they weren’t bad enough to have a legit chance at a top-three lottery pick.

Between 2014 and 2017, the Wizards qualified for the playoffs three times, but they were knocked out of the postseason in the second round all three times. In the last five seasons, they advanced to the playoffs only once, before making a first-round exit in 2021.

The Wizards are currently +30000 odds to win the 2023-24 NBA championship, according to DraftKings. They’re near the bottom of the futures board heading into next season. The Charlotte Hornets have the longest title odds at +60000, followed by the Detroit Pistons (+50000), and Houston Rockets (+35000). The Wizards are among a quartet of moon shots at +30000 odds that also include the Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and Utah Jazz.

Knicks, Heat, Others Eye Beal

Every team in the NBA without an All-Star shooting guard would be foolish to not consider adding Beal to their starting five. Then again, very few teams have the cap space to pull off a trade for a super-max-contract player like Beal.

The New York Knicks and Miami Heat have been involved in multiple trade rumors with Beal over the last couple of seasons.

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are also interested in Beal, but his acquisition would shake up both squads.

Either pro team from Los Angeles would love to add Beal in a trade. But the Lakers and Clippers have their own hurdles to overcome to make a deal happen.

Two recent NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks, are also among the teams keeping tabs on a potential Beal trade.

Shooting guard Fred Van Vleet declined a player option with the Toronto Raptors, and the Knicks and Lakers are both drooling to sign him. If either team misses out on Van Vleet, then Beal is a worthy second option. The Knicks have abundant draft capital and enough young players to make a trade a reality. The Lakers are a long shot and have to come up with a creative deal because they can’t match the Knicks in draft picks.

The Heat won the Eastern Conference and advanced to the 2023 NBA Finals as the #8 seed. However, the Heat lacked a consistent scoring punch to keep up with the eventual champion Denver Nuggets. A playmaker and high-volume scorer like Beal could have made the difference on a well-coached team like the Heat.

Beal and Lillard in Same Boat

Beal is in the same category as Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. They’re two superstar guards who are the heart and soul of their respective teams. Both playmakers could have bounced in free agency or pulled a disgruntled All-Star prima donna move and demanded out of their smaller market town. They could have also forced a trade to a contender, or the chance to play under the bright lights in a bigger city.

The Trail Blazers haven’t done Lillard justice after he decided to stick around Rip City instead of heading to the Knicks. The Trail Blazers failed to reward Lillard for his loyalty and didn’t build a championship-caliber team around him. Now that he’s in his 30s and his body is starting to break down, the clock is ticking, because as every season passes, his skills begin to diminish and his health becomes a bigger factor.

The same could be said about Beal. The Wizards have a loyal and extremely vocal star who wants to stay in DC and retire with the team that drafted him. Beal was the third-overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Florida. However, the Wizards failed to build an NBA contender around him. The Wizards shuffle the lineup every season, but nothing has worked in the last five seasons.

The Wizards await the future status of center Kristaps Porzingis and forward Kyle Kuzma before they make a final decision with Beal. Both starters have a player option for next season. Kuzma or Porzingis could decide to stick around for one more year or become free agents.