Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal on the same team? It could happen soon ... in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.
But what would it take for Tatum's childhood pal to join him on the Boston Celtics? Well, that's a bit more complicated.
Beal is the NBA's leading scorer (33.2 ppg) on one of the league's worst teams, the Washington Wizards. While that might make the 27-year-old seem like a prime trade candidate, he recently signed a contract extension through 2023 (with a player option for 2022). He's owed a whopping $28.8 million salary this season.
That pretty much negates any chance of the Celtics dealing for Beal this year, but what about the future? Allow Chris Forsberg to explain what would need to happen.
"The easy part is done, right? They have the connection, the St. Louis roots, and they both want to make that happen eventually," Forsberg said Monday on Early Edition. "You hear Jayson Tatum say, 'I've never played with Bradley Beal, that intrigues me, at the All-Star Game we'll both be starters.'
"So here's how it would have to happen. The Celtics have a trade exception right now. It is actually $100,000 too small in order to absorb Bradley Beal. So you don't even think about it this year and I don't even know if next year is a possibility. But Bradley Beal with every 40-point game that he gets frustrated and loses, he can say, 'You know, I want to go play with Jayson Tatum in Boston. In fact, that's the only place I want to go.'
"You might remember Anthony Davis did this and power played his way to Los Angeles. ... They would need Bradley Beal to really dig in and want to play with Jayson Tatum, but it is feasible that it could happen in Boston."
It certainly wouldn't be the first time a player has forced their way onto a team of their choosing. Forsberg's example of Davis could be a template for Beal, and James Harden leaving Houston for Brooklyn is another recent example of an NBA superstar getting their way.
Don't go photoshopping Beal in a Celtics jersey just yet, but a "Big Three" of Tatum, Beal, and Jaylen Brown in Boston is easy to get excited about. Even if it might not happen any time soon.