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Report: No Beal trade unless he asks for it, Wizards still want to build around him

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 25: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the LA Clippers at Capital One Arena on January 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

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Bradley Beal has made it clear he wants to build his own legacy in Washington. However, could you blame him if he were frustrated and questioning whether the Wizards could ever build a team to help him get there?

That has led to Beal trade speculation throughout league front offices and in 76ers fan forums everywhere.

However, Washington’s position has not changed: Owner Ted Leonsis wants to build a winner around Beal and will only entertain a trade for him if Beal directly asks for one, reports Marc Stein in his newsletter. That said, the Wizards remain open for business and looking for trades with other players, ideally to build something that will make Beal want to stay.

With the deadline fast approaching, numerous Washington players have been described as candidates to be dealt in recent days thanks to the Wizards’ spiral to 11th in the East: Word is Montrezl Harrell, Thomas Bryant and especially struggling offseason addition Spencer Dinwiddie are all available to various degrees. As for the most coveted Wizard, one well-placed source reiterated this week that Bradley Beal remains highly unlikely to be seriously discussed in trade talks in the next six days — unless Beal goes to management and requests to be traded. That, I’m told, hasn’t happened yet.

With the deadline six days away, even if Beal requests a trade the Wizards may not be able to put together a deal in time. If Beal is to be traded, it’s more likely to happen around the draft or in July. Beal will have leverage in any trade because he can opt-out and become a free agent after this season.

The Wizards have wanted to keep Beal and placed a four-year, $181 million extension offer in front of him. Beal, saying he is being selfish this season for the first time in his career, has chosen not to sign it. If he plays out this season, becomes a free agent then re-signs with Washington — or any team that trades for him before the deadline — he could get five years, $242 million.

It’s possible that the Nets now being open to a James Harden for Simmons trade puts some pressure on Beal, if he considered the 76ers a place he was willing to go.

The more likely outcome is the Wizards trade away some of the depth around Beal looking for upgrades.

There may be a team willing to bet on Dinwiddie, who came back quickly from a torn ACL but has not looked like his old self this season. Dinwiddie is getting to the rim less (14.8% of his shots this season, it was over 30% at his peak in Brooklyn) and he’s not finishing as well when he gets there. The result is he is shooting just 38.8% this season. Dinwiddie also has two seasons fully guaranteed after this at more than $18 million a season, but if a team believes a new setting and some more time after the injury will bring the point guard back to form, it could be a good bet.

The Wizards have a logjam at the five and are reportedly open to moving Harrell or Bryant (Daniel Gafford also is in that mix, and out of the rotation right now, but that’s probably to showcase the two guys available via trade). Harrell is a former Sixth Man of the Year playing near that level again and he can spark a team off the bench. Bryant has impressive offensive skills that are starting to show more and more as he gets healthy.

Can the Wizards get a game changer for one of those players? Probably not. But the team that started 10-3 and has gone 14-23 since, falling out of even the play-in, needs a shake-up. A trade can do that.

Just probably not a trade of Beal. Unless he wants one.