Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
February 26, 2021

Realistic trade options for Bradley Beal to escape to

By ALEX FORLENZA | February 5, 2021

bradleybealstaringintently

MOGAMI KARIYA/CC BY 2.0

The Wizards superstar deserves better than toiling on a sinking franchise.

Bradley Beal is the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) leading scorer, averaging four points per game more than Kevin Durant, who is second, and he  plays even fewer minutes than KD. Beal is also currently playing out of his mind on the worst team in the NBA. The Washington Wizards are very bad at the sport of basketball. They have one of the worst defenses in the NBA, probably second only to the Brooklyn Nets. Unlike the Nets, the Wizards do not have three superstars or seemingly the ability to produce a 200-point game at will.

So the NBA scoring leader is in a bad spot. His current franchise is going anywhere but up. His best teammate is Russell Westbrook, who is incredibly dynamic and not helping the Wizards win any more than John Wall, who is on the Rockets now. Beal’s wife even tweeted “sick of it” after Beal put up 47 points in a loss to the mediocre at best Pelicans. Someone, please save Bradley Beal.

According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Wizards do not want to trade him. It’s also even reported that Beal himself does not want to be traded. Ignoring Beal’s own self-denial, this is an insane thought process for a team that will probably finish last in the NBA. They should take a page out of Philly’s book and tank.

They will not even look like they are tanking because they can try to win every game and still have the worst record. So, trading Beal would actually help them tank even better than they could now, and they can get a significant amount of picks in return. But it seems they are holding out for an insane trade offer, or they simply will not trade Beal. I hope it is the former. The latter is a 2016 New York Knicks type of thinking — idiotic. 

Now, who could want the NBA’s leading scorer? Anyone with a pulse. Who has the assets to actually make a run? There are a couple of teams that both would have the ability to theoretically trade for Beal and have the ability to actually make a deep postseason run to rationalize giving up those assets.

Firstly, the Philadelphia 76ers have the ability to trade a star and some future picks to make this trade work. They can become a threat in the East with this trade and maybe contend with Brooklyn or Milwaukee. This also helps get rid of the weird schematic issues that come from Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid’s clashing play styles. 

The Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets are two teams whose superstars need some help to support Luka Dončić and Nikola Jokić respectively. Adding Beal would grant them at least two superstars and give them the talent to possibly contend with the two Los Angeles teams at the top of the Western Conference. The Mavs are currently not doing too hot, but they still have Kristaps Porziņģis and Luka, meaning they have enough talent to do some real damage if they add another star in Beal.

The Nuggets, on the other hand, have been competing at the top of the conference for a couple of years now, and they are currently fourth in the conference. Adding Beal to a Jokić-led team that includes Jamal Murray is an incredibly dangerous mix, and I would argue that it would potentially be on even footing with the Clippers and Lakers.

There are also two far-fetched options I can see coming to fruition: the New York Knicks or the Golden State Warriors. The Knicks have been having a surprisingly decent season thus far, with some rookie production. They also have a lot of draft capital and a couple of young players to add to a trade scenario. Honestly, this trade fits the tanking idea best, which is why it seems least likely for the Wizards, a team that traded for Westbrook over the offseason and continues to shut down trade rumors. If the Knicks somehow manage to pull this trade-off, it will give New York hope they have not seen since Carmelo Anthony put up 62 in the Garden.

The last possibility is the Warriors, who after having a dynastic run for a number of years have fallen back down to an above-average squad. They still have the greatest shooter of all time in the form of Stephen Curry and some talent around him. But Beal would make an interesting addition to the team, adding another offensive element they do not currently have on their roster.

What is more interesting is what the Warriors could offer up in a trade. They still have Andrew Wiggins, who is not great but a decent trade asset. They also have an injured Klay Thompson, who has an enormous range for trade value, and like every other team on the list, they have some draft capital they would give up. This option is fun because of the possibility of another meaningful LeBron James/Warriors clash in the playoffs this year.

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