All eyes are on Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving now, but everyone from team executives to opposing players continues to monitor the Washington Wizards. “Almost every game we play, someone says something,” Bradley Beal tells me over the phone, regarding how often players recruit him to leave.
“It brings you back to college. Which school is the right school? Which team is the right team?” Beal says. “You love the fact that people see your game and would love to play with you. But it’s also tough on the back end, because you have no idea what you want to do.”
But that hasn’t stopped Beal from trying to recruit. Beal says he has shared his vision with other star players around the league about how they could fit in Washington next to him. He raves about the “freshness” of the team, with a new coach, a new system, and plenty of improving young players. Though selling Washington as most stars look to more glamorous markets has its challenges. “A lot of people seem to think D.C. is a small market, but I try to tell them it’s a big market,” Beal says. “It makes that part of recruiting tougher.”
Philadelphia's loftier sights remain set on Lillard and Bradley Beal possibly growing dissatisfied in Portland and Washington, respectively, sources said. A far larger pool of players also become trade-eligible on December 15, then incorporating most of the newly-signed players from this past offseason. It seems the chances of any Simmons trade, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, will grow significantly larger in late December than anytime soon, barring any change in a rival team's circumstances.
Should Beal take too long to decide — he cannot sign until Oct. 17 at the earliest, the anniversary of his last extension — Washington will have a seismic choice to make: gamble on their all-star centerpiece sticking around at the risk of letting him walk for nothing or explore a trade. Beal knows the Wizards have made favorable moves to convince him they can become the winning franchise he so yearns to lead. But, at least this week, at the season’s dawn, he wasn’t hurrying to commit just yet. “I want to win. I want to win the right way and do it here, and I think we have enough,” Beal said. “So it’s just we have to get it done.”
Now the Wizards have Dinwiddie in their backcourt with Beal -- although Beal's future with the team has been the topic of plenty of speculation. "Obviously, I spoke to him, and obviously he's his own man and his decisions are his own. So I can't talk about his plans or what he's going to do," Dinwiddie said. "I think right now we're both willing to kind of take a little bit of a bet on each other and try to do something special. All we can kind of focus on is the now, and if plans change then they change, but we're here now and have a really special chance."
The Wizards agreed to the Westbrook trade, league sources say, believing it would enhance their chances of Beal committing to a long-term extension to stay in the nation’s capital rather than hasten his exit.
Stadium: "Sources tell me Beal right now has no desire to leave the Wizards." NBA Insider @ShamsCharania reports on Bradley Beal as the Lakers-Wizards work to complete Russell Westbrook trade, presented by @ATT 5G.
Chris Mannix: As others have noted, Westbrook deal not seen as a precursor to a Beal trade, per sources. Moving Westbrook creates future cap flexibility. Beal, of course, with a contract he can opt out of after next season, still wields a lot of power in this situation.
Marcus Thompson: From what I’m hearing, Bradley Beal is opting to stay in DC.
Adrian Wojnarowski: This is a trade Washington wants to make with Bradley Beal in mind, creating some salary cap flexibility for the future to add talent around him, sources tell ESPN. The idea of returning to his Los Angeles roots has been appealing to Westbrook.
But the longer Beal goes without requesting a trade, the less likely the Wizards are to orchestrate a deal involving him by Thursday evening. A league source told The Chronicle on Wednesday morning that the Warriors’ decision-makers don’t expect a Beal trade — to them or anyone else — before they must make their two lottery picks.
David Aldridge: Tommy Sheppard says neither Bradley Beal nor his representatives have requested a trade. He says he continues to believe that there are FAs who would "love" to play with Beal & Russell Westbrook, though the Wiz only have the non-taxpayer MLE when free agency starts this weekend.
So, should the Celtics be considered legitimate suitors for Beal? NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller joined Chris Forsberg on a brand new episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast to discuss. "I would say this, the Tatum thing is real," Miller said. "Bradley would have never considered Boston if Tatum wasn't there. Let's just be honest, he would have never considered it. But that's a thing, and before he had to leave [the Olympics] due to COVID, he had some really good synergy with Jayson, and those daily conversations didn't hurt the Celtics' chances. ...
The Jump on ESPN: "Bradley Beal told me he loves Washington, wants to have a career in Washington and wants his jersey retired there. He wants to be a Wes Unseld type figure. Giannis sticking with Milwaukee could give Beal more motivation to stay in Washington" — @MarcJSpears
Though Wizards guard Bradley Beal had not asked for a trade as of Monday morning, a source said that a Bleacher Report story that he is considering asking for trade is accurate.
A decision on Beal’s intentions could be made before Thursday’s draft but that isn’t certain, according to the source. Beal’s frustration results from his lack of conviction about whether the Wizards are trying to win immediately, according to the source. According to the source with direct knowledge, the Heat is among several teams that very much appeals to Beal.
Beal — who can become a free agent next July - could give Washington a list of preferred destinations if he asks for a trade, but that isn’t definite. The Heat, Golden State and the two Los Angeles teams are among teams that appeal to him.
Teams around the league will eagerly await his decision. If he becomes available, he is not just a guy but the guy this summer — unless, of course, the market for Lillard starts to crescendo. The Warriors, 76ers, Heat and Hawks could all get in on the mix, according to sources. Others would certainly inquire, even if the list may not be as robust as it could have been if the Wizards pulled the trigger on a Beal trade a year ago … before the Nets gave up pieces for James Harden, the Bucks gave up ones for Holiday, the Nuggets gave up ones for Aaron Gordon and the Bulls gave up ones for Nikola Vucevic.
A sense around the league is that would be contingent on what Washington does with point guard Russell Westbrook. The source said Beal may consider leaving if the Wizards opt to trade Westbrook this summer. There have been some reports about the Lakers having interest in Westbrook.
Bradley Beal hasn’t asked out. There is no trade demand or trade request, not even a timid suggestion, according to sources. But here we are, where the news of the week is an All-NBA talent deciding whether or not to make a decision.
Perhaps if Bradley Beal were to request a trade away from the Washington Wizards—as two sources close to the All-Star guard told Bleacher Report he was considering—Philadelphia could emerge as a serious front-runner with a Simmons offer. In the event Beal does not become available, the Sixers have yet to make serious traction on any other Simmons deal, sources said.
Beal's potential availability has sparked significant discussion among league personnel, but there appears to be less confidence Lillard will seek a different team prior to training camp. Warriors officials have expressed doubt Lillard would eye Golden State as a destination.
Chris Grenham: Zach Lowe just now on ESPN's Woj & Lowe special regarding Bradley Beal: "Is Boston going to offer Jaylen Brown? I don't think so." pic.twitter.com/eOvSv7Tu7u
Adam Aaronson: Woj says one player makes most sense for the Warriors in a trade: Bradley Beal. “Beal is not yet — and may not be — available.” “I don’t sense that Golden State is interested in the Ben Simmons talks.”
Still: Beal has been seriously mulling his future in recent weeks, and at times has been very much on the fence about whether or not he wants to remain with the Wizards, sources tell The Athletic. The All-NBA guard is expected to use the weekend to continue giving his career some thought and could arrive at a decision during the upcoming week.
For all teams, planning and preparation entering draft week is important. It heightens the need to allow the Wizards and teams across the league to prepare should Beal have a change of heart on his future. For Beal, this process of mulling his future has taken place over each of the past few summers.
With the 2021 NBA draft fast approaching, word has reached front offices around the league that Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is considering requesting a trade prior to Thursday night's event. "He knows he has to make a decision before the draft," one source with direct knowledge of Beal's thinking told Bleacher Report. For the past year, people familiar with Beal's dedicated relationship to the Wizards have consistently rebuffed the notion he had interest in playing elsewhere. Yet a second source close to Beal, when contacted by B/R, confirmed the situation is now fluid.
Beal has long maintained to confidants his desire to stay in Washington, so long as he believed the Wizards were positioned to advance deep into the postseason. And if Beal were to seek a new team, he would do so only to land in an established winning environment, sources said.
Beal does not have a proverbial list of preferred destinations, but it was mentioned by multiple sources that he would welcome joining teams such as Boston, Golden State, Miami or Philadelphia—although Beal requesting a trade would all but guarantee an expansive bidding war across the league. The number of potential destinations and interested suitors could span a significant portion of the NBA.
Marc Stein on the Warriors: "The way it was described to me by a team that I'll just say has been monitoring Golden State very closely is they want a star, the Warriors want a star... But, you know, who doesn't want a star? Can you package 7 and 14 picks and James Wiseman and get a star? When we're talking about stars, that's basically code for Bradley Beal, or Damian Lillard. Are either one of those guys really in play at this draft? It's probably more Lillard than Beal at this point but I just think the draft might come a step too soon for either one of those guys to be dealt."
Marc Stein: Golden State has indeed signaled a willingness to trade the 7th and 14th overall picks, league sources say, but the Warriors are said to be trying to construct a deal that brings back "a star." Star translates to Washington's Bradley Beal or Portland's Damian Lillard — neither of whom figures to be available for a trade package in which, irrespective of how many draft assets are attached, Andrew Wiggins is the standout veteran.
Some on the Golden State Warriors are watching closely the next move of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Should he become available, he’s at the top of the offseason wishlist. The Warriors’ trio of stars — Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson — have made it clear to management they want the franchise to focus on the pursuit of a championship, even to consider using their two lottery picks to get someone who can help immediately, sources confirmed. Warriors general manager Bob Myers said their goal this offseason is to add more of a veteran presence.
Any deal involving Beal would have to include Andrew Wiggins to make the salaries match. Wiggins has two years, $65.2 million remaining on his contract. One team source did say the Warriors wouldn’t be quite willing to gut the roster to acquire Beal. If they could land Beal while keeping James Wiseman, it could be the best of both worlds for the Warriors — appease the desire to win now while retaining a future centerpiece. But Washington figures to want Wiseman.
SNY's Ian Begley reported Monday the Knicks might instead prioritize maintaining future financial flexibility: "As recently as last month, a source said the Knicks have talked internally about the possibility of holding enough cap space this summer for 2022 and keeping enough money around to be able to go after a max player in that 2022 class, which should include Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal."
Yet even if Morey, deep down, wishes he had a do-over on his January or March dealings, he has shown little inclination to rush into shedding Simmons, which is undoubtedly a nod to one of the most complex situations he has ever faced. All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it. He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland’s CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer.
Sports Illustrated Chris Mannix reveals two names he believes to be enticing enough for the Celtics to include Jaylen Brown for in a trade. While he didn’t provide a firm report on any trade rumblings going on at the moment, he could potentially be plugged into some sources who might have a better feel for Boston’s outlook. The seasoned insider spoke out on Early Edition this past week. “There are a couple of players out there that I think the Celtics would move for Jaylen Brown,” Mannix said. “One would be Bradley Beal, who has to make a decision of his own the next couple weeks if he wants to sign that extension with Washington. If he doesn’t, that’s tantamount to a trade request and he can become available. And we all know at this point about the relationship between Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum.
Another source questioned why either team would make that deal, specifically saying it doesn’t do enough to address Philadelphia’s need for leadership. The source suggested the Kings could make a serious play for Simmons if they make De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton available. Some believe the 76ers could make a move for Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard instead.
The source told the Daily News that the Knicks are interested in packaging rising star RJ Barrett in a deal for a star guard, like Portland’s Damian Lillard or Washington’s Bradley Beal. If both the Trail Blazers and Wizards are uninterested in a deal, the source says the Knicks are also monitoring Cleveland’s Collin Sexton, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Charlotte’s Terry Rozier as younger guards the franchise can fold into its plans for the future.
Ava Wallace: Sheppard on Beal: "Nothing's changing for me, for Bradley... we built this team around Bradley, and that's our intention moving forward."
Beal, 27, becomes a free agent a year from now when his two-year, $72 million extension from 2019 runs out, but he could ask for a trade before then. Although the all-star guard expressed no interest in leaving the team throughout the season, according to multiple people with knowledge of Beal’s situation, he made it clear at the start of the year that he wanted the Wizards to prove they could be a winning organization.
After the Washington Wizards saw their season end with a Game 5 first-round loss to the 76ers on Wednesday night in Philadelphia, Bradley Beal said it was too soon to declare his future intentions as he enters the final year of his contract. "I haven't even ... we're not gonna think about that, or even talk about it, right now," Beal said after collecting 32 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Washington's 129-112 loss. "I haven't thought about none of that, as of yet."
"Ultimately, I'm in control," Beal said. "I think that's my biggest thing. People are going to report whatever they want, but I know where my mind is and I know if it's not coming from the horse's mouth, then it's going to be rumors. I expect them. S---, they're starting now. "So it doesn't change anything. I guess it's going to increase a lot more this year with me going into the last year of my deal, but for me, I'm just relaxing, resting my body and we'll evaluate all that when summer comes."
Tim Bontemps: Bradley Beal is asked directly about whether he thinks the Wizards have shown him enough to commit to the organization long-term. And while he praises Scott Brooks and the way the season went, Beal declined to answer either way whether Washington was the place for him long-term.
The Grizzlies are not a free-agent destination for All-NBA players and could take a swing for a fence type deal with a collection of draft picks (nine over the next seven years) and young players on team-friendly contracts (De'Anthony Melton, Brandon Clarke and Dillon Brooks).
The patience has paid off to a relative degree, as now the Wizards are in position to possibly make the playoffs. Beal feels like he has been somewhat vindicated by the experience. "It speaks volumes. It’s always tough because when my name was buzzing, that’s all I heard early in the year is ‘trade Beal, trade Beal.’ It wasn’t anything other than that," Beal said. "So, me knowing who I am and just sticking through it, that’s a testament to what we did as a team this year."
One league source told me the sleeper team to watch in a Beal bidding war is the Raptors. This source said Toronto president Masai Ujiri was reluctant to deal Lowry because he believes the team can contend again as soon as next season. At that point, the Raptors will likely be back in a normal rhythm and playing in Canada after spending all of this season in Tampa.
There’s still a real chance Beal stays in Washington for years to come, but as the Wizards rack up losses, teams like the Heat are waiting to pounce. In addition to Miami, multiple league sources say the Celtics, Knicks, and Pelicans are among the teams with interest in pursuing a deal for Beal.
Like most teams around the league, Washington (15-26) isn’t looking at a bombshell deal come 3 p.m. Thursday — one blockbuster trade in a season is enough, and nothing with Beal’s situation has changed. The all-star guard has not indicated he wants a trade, according to people with knowledge of the situation, and Washington has not made him available for one.
Yet amid the generalities and coy responses they offered after being asked what the trade deadline is like for a coach and a veteran and which holes Washington needs plugged most, Brooks and Beal described the Wizards’ situation rather tidily. “I could sit here and say we need a lot,” Beal said. “I could sit here and say we’re really good with what we have, and it’s just a matter of us being consistent.”
For the 73,982 people that keep asking: no, the Wizards’ stance on Bradley Beal hasn’t changed. Teams continue to ask if the two-time All-Star is available; teams continue to be told no, he isn’t, and Beal continues to hold fast on not asking for relocation. Washington’s post-break funk hasn’t lessened the franchise’s resolve to continue a rebuild around him in 2021-22, even though that would continue to degrade what the Wizards could get for him in return. The Wizards plan to have their full mid-level exception available next summer; after flirting with getting into the playoff tournament in the east, they’re sinking back toward the bottom of the conference, increasing their chances of a high Lottery pick in a very good draft.
Today, with the Wizards at 14-20 and Beal’s free agency nearing, rumors of his future in Washington have inevitably swirled, no matter the reality. Sources say the Wizards are not engaging with other front offices who call about Beal, and he has not asked for a trade.
According to one NBA insider, Celtics fans shouldn't get their hopes up. NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller discussed the odds of Beal joining the C's and emphatically shut down the proposition. "There's no way Bradley Beal's going to Boston, I'll just tell you that," Miller said Friday on Early Edition. "Bradley's not going anywhere. He's heard over the last two years every team it seems like's fanbase courting Bradley Beal. And why not? This guy is the leading scorer in the league, he has developed into one of the best players in the league, and offensively he is literally unguardable."
Those talks, Lillard said, have revisited the same topics from nearly two years ago. The suggestions they leave for better teams or bigger markets. The notion they could do better, be better and live better in a different city. “I know how he feels because I get that all the time: ‘You should go here; you should go there …’ from all kinds of different people, and I know he gets it too,” Lillard said. “We’ve had that conversation. … He has the same feeling about it as I have: I just don’t want to go elsewhere. This is our ninth year. We’ve been so invested in this to where it’s like, this is what it is. This is where I want to get it done. And I’m sure he feels that same way.”
But sources tell TrueHoop that there’s a problem with that analysis. The Washington Wizards insist Beal ain’t going anywhere, and it’s convincing.
One rival executive, who has been repeatedly rebuffed in Beal trade calls, has all but given up trying to pry him away, telling TrueHoop: “In terms of franchise loyalty, I think Beal is in the same category as Steph and Dame right now.”
Rival executives have been sorely disappointed that Beal hasn’t cracked underneath the turmoil on the roster dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak and Westbrook’s sudden decline.
Michael Singer: Michael Malone: “I feel bad for Bradley Beal because every day his name is on HoopsHype about trades. Let the kid play, man.”
Knicks top executive World Wide Wes is reportedly recruiting Bradley Beal to the Knicks through backchannels. ESPN radio host Michael Kay, who works for the station that broadcasts Knicks games, cited a “very good source” while dropping the news on his show last week.
“The Knicks have World Wide Wes on their side,” Kay said. “And he’s been in the ear of some of Beal’s people and he’s kind of nudging them that this might be a time to push for a trade.”
World Wide Wes, whose real name is William Wesley, was hired by the Knicks in June to work with his longtime associate Leon Rose. It’s Wesley’s first official job with an NBA team after decades as a behind-the-scenes power broker who leveraged relationships into influence. World Wide Wes, who has James Dolan’s ear, is an animated figure on the sidelines this season, both on the road and at MSG, but has never spoken publicly.
What the Celtics can do right now is limited. Unless something changes between now and the deadline, Bradley Beal won’t be available. All indications are that he and the front office will wait until the offseason to sort out their future. And even if Beal did become available before the deadline, the Celtics probably wouldn’t be able to make the most competitive offer.
The Jump: Per @Adrian Wojnarowski on NBA Countdown: Bradley Beal is unlikely to be traded before the March 25 deadline. #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #DCAboveAll
The Knicks are interested in Beal, a source confirmed, and in general are open to trading assets to acquire a star player. They have $15 million in cap space that will disappear if it’s not used before the trade deadline, along with five first-round picks over the next three years.
Knicks top executive World Wide Wes is reportedly recruiting Bradley Beal to the Knicks through backchannels. ESPN radio host Michael Kay, who works for the station that broadcasts Knicks games, cited a “very good source” while dropping the news on his show last week. “The Knicks have World Wide Wes on their side,” Kay said. “And he’s been in the ear of some of Beal’s people and he’s kind of nudging them that this might be a time to push for a trade.”
Fred Katz: Bradley Beal on why he thinks he was No. 1 in voting across the board after not making All-Star last year: "I have no idea. I have no idea,” he says before looking into the Zoom camera and smirking. "Part of me wants to say it’s all the trade rumors, but I don’t know."
One, they are invested in him and want an All-Star on the roster. He is a player to build around and a box-office attraction. Two, Beal, who is a free agent after the 2022-23 season, has not indicated he wants out. He wants to be the centerpiece of a rebuild, at least for now. “I’ve been very clear about that for a long time – Bradley Beal has separated himself as one of the elite players in the NBA,” Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard told USA TODAY Sports. “He’s a fantastic two-way player. He’s proved himself to be a cornerstone for this franchise.”
Washington and trade suitors have to consider that Beal has never made the playoffs without John Wall. So what would be the trade cost? Three different executives, who spoke to the News, defined the price as steep. One longtime GM laid it out specifically: three unprotected first rounders, two pick swaps, a young player and an expiring contract. That’s approaching Harden territory. The Nets, as the News reported, had internally discussed acquiring Beal long before exhausting their assets for Harden. As far as valuable young players, the Knicks can offer Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Immanuel Quickley or Toppin. Their best player, Julius Randle, is only tied to next season with a $19.8 million team option.
Beal always seems a step away from being put on the trading block, and league executives think it’s more a matter of when, not if, he will be dealt. “Eventually I think the Wizards will [trade him],” one NBA executive said. “They want to treat Beal right. I think Beal will get frustrated enough to ask for a trade and they will accommodate him.”
The Knicks — as well as several other teams — are monitoring the situations of shooting guards Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo. The Knicks (11-15) get an up-close look at both players in a Friday-Saturday back-to-back.
Only, Beal does not want next. He wants to carve his own path, not the one dictated by widespread player movement and the media that spotlights it, and that still means constructing a contender in Washington. “He doesn’t want to quit on something,” Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports & Entertainment, told Yahoo Sports. “He’s an incredibly loyal guy, and he wants to always feel like he’s done everything he can to help something or someone be successful. It’s the way he was raised and what his values are based upon. It’s ingrained in him. It’s what makes him, in my mind, so unique. He’s all about the right things.”
“It’s the team that drafted him, the team that’s invested in him, and he desperately wants to make them a championship contender,” Bartelstein, who has represented Beal since the 2012 draft, told Yahoo Sports. “He wants to make it happen. That’s the way he is. He’s not looking for the easy way out. He challenges himself. The evolution of his game speaks volumes about how committed he is and how hard he works.”
Beal wants to see the same turnaround come his way in Washington. So, barring a shift in direction for the Wizards, who are said to have “zero” to “no interest” in dealing Beal, any speculation is more time wasted. “Nothing is absolute. Things change all the time,” Bartelstein told Yahoo Sports, “but when he’s in, he’s all in. That’s where his focus is. He’s focused on raising their level and getting to that point. A lot of what is going on in the media right now is unfair. Every facial expression, every movement, every time his eyes are looking somewhere, people are reading so much into every little thing. There’s nothing there to read into.
“Brad’s never been someone to run from adversity,” Pure Sweat Basketball’s Drew Hanlen, Beal’s longtime trainer, told Yahoo Sports. “While a lot of other stars have chosen to blame others and run to another team where things are easier, Brad wants to stick things out and help turn the Wizards into a winning franchise.”
“Of course, Brad wants to win and doesn’t want his prime to be wasted on a losing team,” Hanlen told Yahoo Sports in a text message, “but [second-year Wizards general manager] Tommy [Sheppard] has always been good to Brad, and he wants to give him a chance to build a winning team around him in D.C.”
The Jump: "Another guy executives are watching is Zach LaVine. They would trade for someone like Bradley Beal if he's available" - @Brian Windhorst #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #BullsNation
Another West exec was even more adamant when asked the same question. "Zero," they said, referring to the chances Beal is dealt before next month's trade deadline. "That's what they keep saying. They've been adamant they're not moving him."
That leaves Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal as the biggest star who could be considered available. But while Beal hasn't hid his displeasure at times on the court recently for the Wizards, there has been no indication he has asked out of Washington, and observers around the league expect that deal to take place in the offseason, rather than between now and the deadline. "I think it would have to be pressure from him and his agent to do so, and it sounds to me like that won't happen until after the season, if at all," a Western Conference executive said.
Beal has so far expressed he wants to remain in Washington and has not indicated he prefers to be traded, sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic. The Wizards, in turn, have no interest in trading him. Amid calls from the general public and even ones from around the league that a team at the bottom of the standings would be best off dealing its prized player, Washington has made it clear it has no plans to move him.
He is privately frustrated and confused with the perpetual portrayal of his situation, according to sources familiar with his thinking. After seeing other players take criticism for requesting to leave teams, those sources say Beal feels he’s getting nitpicked for choosing to stay in D.C., where he began his NBA career in 2012. He felt similarly when he signed an extension in October 2019. Speculation about his future has swirled since before then.
There is a long way to go until the March 25 trade deadline, but several teams that would be in the hunt for Beal do not expect him to become available this season. “(The Wizards) have maintained what they’ve always maintained,” one rival executive said. “They’re building something in Washington around Beal.”
Opposing organizations don’t get the impression that this is some kind of leverage play from the Wizards. They don’t believe Washington is insisting that Beal is unavailable as some kind of ploy to raise an asking price. General manager Tommy Sheppard is operating inside a market that just saw the Rockets acquire four first-round draft picks and four first-round draft swaps in exchange for Harden. Only a few months ago, the Pelicans received three first-rounders and two swaps for Jrue Holiday. Beal could reasonably command more than New Orleans got, especially if a trade came now — though there would be complications in trying to pull off a deal before the trade deadline.
Bradley Beal’s body language against the Nets during the first half and what NBA executives and scouts were saying. Michael Scotto: I texted with a couple of executives and scouts. One executive in the East told me, “Damn, that’s unbelievable. Red flags everywhere.” Another scout, who’s been in the league for over a decade at this point, texted me, “He looks like he’s done with them.” That was in the first half.
Michael Scotto: You mentioned that the Wizards aren’t necessarily looking to move him. I’ve gotten that same sentiment as well. Coming into the year, they thought with re-signing Davis Bertans, trading for Russell Westbrook and reuniting him with Brooks and hoping he can recapture that MVP form or at least an All-Star level player, pair him with Beal, they thought they were a playoff team in the East and as high as six in the conferenceaccording to somepeople I spoke to in the organization going into the season. That was their hope. It hasn’t turned out like that. Thomas Bryant also got hurt.
Fred Katz: Brad hasn’t said he wants out. The team doesn’t want to trade him. At this point, that’s been the case for long enough that I’m just going to continue to believe that until I explicitly hear hints of otherwise. And this isn’t just from conversations with people close to Beal. These are conversations with people from other teams who call up the Wizards. The league sees what’s happening here. The Wizards are 4-12. Beal’s a free agent in the summer of 2022. The league sees him as the next guy to get traded after James Harden.
So if Beal wants atrade or the Wizards explore a trade, what’s his value? Michael Scotto: One exec said, ‘A whole bunch of picks, and I think they could try to have another team take a bad contract with him as well. I think it’d be somewhere between the Jrue Holiday and Harden trades. Harden was an MVP scoring champ in terms of talent. He (Beal) is in between both of them.’ Another exec said, ‘If you look at the last couple of trades, depending on the players going back, I’d imagine two or three first-round picks and potentially pick swaps as well.’
The New Orleans Pelicans' interest in Beal remains one of the biggest open secrets around the league, and it seems their massive haul for Jrue Holiday would be the Wizards' required starting point in any negotiations.
The Nuggets have been as linked to Beal as the Pelicans, and they could offer Washington the only blockbuster trade ingredient it appears New Orleans cannot: a bonafide blue-chip prospect in Michael Porter Jr. Yet that is where any semblance of certainty stops in this hypothetical.
The Hawks also widely signaled that 2018 first-round pick Kevin Huerter was available via trade prior to draft night. Atlanta would need to include Tony Snell and one other smaller contract to match Beal's salary. Adding John Collins would make the money work, and if the Wizards are willing to sign him to the max-level contract sources say he desires in his upcoming restricted free agency, Atlanta holds all of its first-rounders plus the Oklahoma City Thunder's lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick.
The New York Knicks have $17 million in cap room, a number of expiring contracts, several recent first-round selections on their roster and a cupboard full of future draft picks at their disposal. The Knicks never had much interest in Westbrook this offseason, league sources say. But adding Beal may be worth the risk. The Knicks would finally have an unquestioned All-NBA talent on their roster, still several years shy of turning 30, with a clean cap sheet of their own to add another co-star.
The Knicks have five first-round picks in the next three drafts. They have two picks coming from the Dallas Mavericks as a result of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. The 2021 pick is unprotected. At the moment, it looks like that could be a top-20 pick. So New York could offer Washington two strong picks in the 2021 draft, which is seen as incredibly deep. As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted on ESPN Radio with Alan Hahn and Bart Scott, several NBA teams are limited in what picks they can offer in a trade because of previous trades they’ve made. And because NBA teams can’t trade their own first-round picks in consecutive seasons. So the Knicks could have an advantage on some Beal suitors with regard to first-round picks.
December 1, 2021 | 6:22 pm EST Update
Aaron J. Fentress: Damian Lillard (abdomen) and Nassir Little (ankle) will each miss several games. Lillard is out at least 10 days while Little is out at least a week. All of those days of “no injuries to report” or having one guy down screamed that bad luck was around the corner for #RipCity