Storyline: Bradley Beal Trade?

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For now, newly appointed Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard is committed to keeping Beal in Washington. “The way that I look at this is pretty simple: If you were looking to build a team, Brad would be the type of player anyone would want to start with,” Sheppard told CBS Sports. “You look at the character, the talent, the age, just the whole package … Brad is without a doubt a core player in this league. Every team would love to have him, and we do.”

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The Wizards, at this point, have been given no reason to believe he wants to go elsewhere. And they likely won’t trade him unless they are given that indication. The Wizards, at this point, have been given no reason to believe he wants to go elsewhere. And they likely won’t trade him unless they are given that indication. What we know for sure is the Heat loves Beal and hopes to land him either before 2021 free agency or during. We also know that for whatever reason, Jimmy Butler followed Beal recently on social media.

As we reported in early July, that scenario has been seriously discussed inside the Heat and there’s sentiment to do that, because of how much the Heat loves Beal and because of the internal belief that Miami can get Wall back to All-Star level following his ruptured Achilles, which is expected to sideline him this upcoming season. But the Wizards have shown no inclination to package Beal with Wall in an attempt to purge the final four years and $171 million of Wall’s contract.

Meanwhile, even though the Heat has displayed strong interest in trading for Washington guard Bradley Beal, Wizards vice president/basketball operations Tommy Sheppard told The Athletic that Washington has given no thought to trading Beal. “Not at all,” Sheppard said. “It’s never crossed our mind. Bradley is somebody we’re building around. He’s been involved with everything we’re doing in the draft, free agency. We need his opinion. We want this team to be a reflection of what he is all about.”

Bradley Beal not going anywhere?

While his name surfaced in trade rumors following John Wall’s season-ending Achilles’ injury in February, Beal said that Leonsis, Sheppard and Coach Scott Brooks have each independently told him in recent weeks that he would not be moved. “They’ve been very transparent and that’s been great,” Beal said. “They’re not keeping me in the dark about anything, even about the trade rumors. . . . It’s great having that peace of mind.”

Bradley Beal an option for Boston?

Boston missed out on Davis, but don’t think he was Danny Ainge’s only target, especially with a trove of young players and draft picks that he can dangle to upgrade the roster. “What is Danny Ainge planning that we’re not thinking of right now?” says a league source. “I’m sure Danny has something up his sleeve.” Multiple sources point to Bradley Beal as prime option—particularly if Irving leaves. Beal is coming off his best season and showed a wider range of skills after the Wizards lost John Wall at the end of December.

Either way, this saga needed a finale, and the Pelicans’ future is set up nicely now. They have a bevy of young, talented pieces coming in, and soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson ready to be the face of the franchise along with Jrue Holiday. Griffin has been open to moving the No. 4 overall pick, and one player league executives believe the Pelicans are monitoring in a potential trade is Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal, sources said. But Wizards interim president Tommy Sheppard is running the Washington front office as of now, and the franchise has been adamant for months that it hopes to build around Beal.

League front-office sources don’t expect the Wizards to even consider moving Bradley Beal unless offers are overwhelming. And they could be. Beal made a leap last season as a playmaker while maintaining his versatile scoring at a higher volume, and he turns 26 this summer with two years left on his contract. Maybe if Durant goes to the Nets, the Knicks get desperate. The Rockets reportedly offered four first-round picks for Jimmy Butler, what would Houston give up for Beal? The Wizards may not want to deal their only healthy All-Star, but with only two years left on his contract, now’s the time for teams to start calling and for Washington to start listening.

Bringing young, impressionable players into the fold won’t solve all issues if the culture reeks. That’s not to suggest what the Wizards have is rotten even though last year’s laborious start to the season stemmed in part from a contentious vibe. It’s to say that the mature Beal, a natural leader despite not turning 26 until next month, is the tone-setter this franchise needs. “Keep Beal as the vet who sets the culture, identity,” a league source familiar with the Wizards’ situation told NBC Sports Washington.

The Wizards could, in theory, sign Beal to a supermax and just deal with it later. They would have two full seasons before the contract begins. By then, Wall should be healthy and have at least a full year of games under his belt and maybe more if he returns next season. But delaying the inevitable is not a sound strategy. If extending Beal backfires either as a singular move or in conjunction with Wall’s deal, it could strap the franchise for many years to come. All of this makes a supermax offer in the event Beal becomes eligible potentially a decision so massive it could be the most important call the next GM makes in their entire tenure in Washington. And that GM may have to make that decision within months of taking the job.

Do you start to build a new team around him — maybe by taking a point guard with what should be a top-10 pick in the draft, and try to again play fast next season? Or do you move Beal, at the absolute apex of his value, coming off his best season, and having proven he can get through 82 games relatively unscathed? “I’m not saying you have to trade him,” an executive from one of this year’s top teams told me on Monday — before the Wizards announced Grunfeld’s dismissal. “But you do have to think about it.”

Chris Haynes on which star may be available next: “I just got Bradley Beal on my podcast and I straight up told Bradley, ‘Man, look, the Washington Wizards probably should’ve broken this team up a few years ago.’ John Wall is out for a year. They traded Otto Porter. Is Bradley Beal the next guy? Is it time to move on [from him]? I think Washington has to do some self-reflecting. It may be time to move on from Bradley. And Bradley isn’t the type of guy who’s going to ask [for a trade] or want out; he’s a loyal dude. He’s a real loyal dude. But it might be in their best interest to trade him.”

The core duo remaining from an eroded big three could be sticking around longer than the mere remainder of this struggling year. Wall’s recent Achilles’ rupture matched with a pending maximum extension makes him one of the league’s most difficult players to trade. And the organization intends to keep Beal beyond this summer, team president Ernie Grunfeld told The Athletic in an exclusive interview Thursday afternoon. “We have no intention of trading Bradley,” Grunfeld said, when asked if the Wizards would trade Beal before his contract runs up after the 2020-21 season. “We really like his development and the way his game has improved over these years: his character, his work ethic. And we wanna have him as part of our group moving forward for a long time.”

After months of speculation surrounding the future of players like John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr. amid the Wizards’ struggles, team owner Ted Leonsis went on the record to confirm his star players won’t be involved in trade talks ahead of the Feb. 7 trade deadline. “I love when they go, ‘trade Bradley Beal. Trade John Wall. Trade Otto Porter.’ And I go ‘ok, for who?’ We’re not trading any of those players… wouldn’t throw in the towel on this core,” Leonsis said during an interview with WTOP radio.

The Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic are still competing for a playoff berth, but both teams are preparing for the deadline with the awareness their moves will be made based upon whether the team is trending upward or down as Feb. 7 approaches, sources said. Wizards star guard Bradley Beal is not going anywhere, which Washington has made adamantly clear, league sources told The Athletic. Depending on how the next week to two weeks shape up, the Wizards could look more aggressively toward moving Otto Porter. The Utah Jazz have been an interested suitor for Porter, league sources said. Beal has helped lead the Wizards to seven wins in their past 10 games, carrying a squad that lost All-Star John Wall to season-ending heel surgery before the New Year.

That’s why is hasn’t come as a surprise that a conga line of contenders have kicked the tires on Beal, by far the Wizards’ most valuable—and most tradable—asset. Multiple team executives and agents tell Bleacher Report the impending Feb. 7 trade deadline is expected to be a busy one and that Beal’s talent, sharpshooting, versatility, age (25) and contract (two years and $56 remaining) make him one of the most coveted assets in the marketplace. “There are so many teams in the mix trying to make that extra push that want Beal,” a Western Conference executive told B/R.

I don’t personally think the Wizards need to trade Beal. He has three years left on his contract and at a reasonable price. (He’s owed about $81 million during that time.) He’s playing like a surefire All-Star. If the Wizards want to break it down, there’s no reason to sell their best player for even 99 cents on the dollar. That said, I’ve spoken to smart, smart people in the NBA, people whose opinions I respect a lot that think the Wizards should think about parting with him. He could bring back a bunch. And if you’re not going to win with this group (which it looks like you won’t), the argument is, get as many picks or young pieces as you can and form a new core. Wall’s deal matched with his injury make him an unlikely trade candidate.

Maybe a veteran scorer like Beal would give James a more reliable, polished running mate than Ingram. “It’s too early to tell for Ingram,” a Lakers executive said. “Where was [Beal] at the same age?” Four years ago, Beal averaged 15.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game as a 21-year-old. He shot 40.9 percent from three-point range on 4.1 attempts. He made a big jump two years later to 23.1 points per night. Ingram, at 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists, probably won’t ever be as consistent an outside shooter as Beal, but Beal won’t ever have Ingram’s 6’9″ height and 7’3″ wingspan.

The Washington Wizards are floundering at 7-12. While the Wizards are only two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, the dysfunction in Washington is leading to widespread speculation that the organization will blow things up and trade away major players like John Wall or Bradley Beal. “John Wall is a very different situation [from Bradley Beal],” said Wojnarowski on the Woj Pod. “You can count on one hand, and probably with just a couple of fingers places that really might have interest in taking his contract on and what it all means to bring him in. “I would never say there’s no market for John Wall, but I think Bradley Beal has a much broader market. But if Washington was going to do something, they would have to get every last asset they could for Bradley Beal.”

Hornets after Bradley Beal?

The Charlotte Hornets have inquired with the Washington Wizards about the possibility of acquiring shooting guard Bradley Beal, an informed source confirmed Tuesday. The source didn’t identify what the Hornets have offered for Beal, a 6-foot-5 guard averaging 21.5 points this season, or whether any progress has been made toward a deal. Beal could be the second scoring option to point guard Kemba Walker this team has lacked in an 8-8 season. Walker is coming off two games in which he scored a combined 103 points. He is the NBA’s leading scorer at 29.6 points per game.

Though an ESPN report suggested that the Wizards are willing to move anyone on the roster in possible trades — including cornerstones Wall and Beal — league sources dispute whether that’s a plan the franchise is truly willing to execute. For one, the value for every Wizard, including the all-star backcourt, couldn’t be any lower than it is right now. Some have suggested that a public shaming might be a necessary wake-up call for players who have become way too comfortable with the fat contracts owner Ted Leonsis has handed out in recent years.

“With the news we had today, that’s either going to boost us or fuck us up a little bit,” Bradley Beal told The Athletic after Monday’s practice. “We’ll see. “We’ve already aired out a lot of our problems the last couple of years. It’s not like any of our stuff is a secret,” Beal said. “We just got to do it on the floor. It’s not like we have bad character guys or bad guys. We’re just not getting it [done] in between the lines… Maybe it’s entitlement. Maybe we’re too cool. Maybe we feel we can flip it on a switch. All the things we’ve said in the past that’s been a problem with us. I don’t know. That’s the annoying part about it. You can’t pinpoint it as one thing.”

Although Washington may be floundering during a 5-11 start to the season, there is a belief that the team has zero plans to move on from either of its franchise cornerstones, based on conversations with multiple league sources who have familiarity with the Wizards and how their front office operates. A Wizards spokesman, meanwhile, cited team policy by saying President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld “doesn’t comment on rumors, so he won’t comment on this one.”

Word is the Wolves did try to engage Washington — another team falling well short of expectations — in trade talks for the sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal. But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start. They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts. My pal Zach Lowe at ESPN recently did a deep dive on just how hard Wall will be to trade once his “supermax” contract extension kicks in next season.
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