Suns go for stars, to trade for Bradley Beal, send Paul, Shamet, picks to Wizards
In an NBA where the new CBA was set up to prevent a collection of stars, the Phoenix Suns are going for it anyway.
The Wizards have agreed to trade Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul — his salary for this season gets picked up at $30.8 million — Landry Shamet, maybe other minimum-salary players, and a couple of second-round picks and multiple pick swaps. The story was broken almost simultaneously by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The details of the trade are still being finalized, in part because what the Wizards will get back hinges on what they can trade Paul for, most likely to the Clippers, reports Chris Haynes of TNT/Bleacher Report. It no trade is found and the Wizards buy out Paul, he likely signs with the Lakers
Beal had to waive his no-trade clause to allow this trade to go through — meaning Beal picked the Suns over the Heat and everyone else — and Wojnarowski got confirmation from Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, that he would do so.
It’s another big all-in move for new Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who took control of the team — and basketball operations — just before the trade deadline and made the trade for Kevin Durant, putting him next to Devin Booker. The Suns have gone all-in on a title, but it comes with challenges and risks.
This forms a “big 3" top-heavy team for Phoenix that will be a playoff threat in the West if all their players can make it to the postseason healthy (both Durant and Beal have injury histories in recent years).
However, the Suns just got bounced from the playoffs by the Nuggets because Denver had superior depth (and with that, versatility). Having Beal making $46.7 million next season, Durant at $47.7 million and Booker at $36 million, the Suns are already at more than $130 million for the three of them, and the salary cap is $134 million. Add in Deandre Ayton at $32.5 million, and Cameron Payne’s contract ($6.5 million, non-guaranteed), and the Suns are at a $169 million payroll — bumping up against the restrictive second apron of the tax ($179.5 million) with 10-12 roster spots to fill out. The Suns can round the roster out with veteran minimum players, but that puts them above the second apron, plus you can ask the Lakers of a couple of seasons ago how filling out a roster with a lot of minimum players goes. (Don’t be surprised if the Suns try to trade Ayton for depth.)
For Washington, this is the first step in a tear-it-down-to-the-studs rebuild that has been long overdue but never okayed by owner Ted Leonsis (who kept them pushing to make the playoffs, and with that ending up a .500ish team hoping to get a lower playoffs seed). Expect the Wizards to try to make a sign-and-trade with Kyle Kuzma this summer, and the same (or an outright trade if he opts in) with Kristaps Porzingis. The Wizards are about to look very different.
The Miami Heat had been considered the frontrunners for Beal but could not put together a deal Beal and the Wizards liked around Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson (or Victor Oladipo) and a couple of first-round picks. This is a miss for the Heat, who want to add another star next to Jimmy Butler. The Heat reportedly wanted to slow play the trade with the Wizards to see what might happen with Damian Lillard — Portland has no intention of trading him as of now and wants to trade its No. 3 pick plus Anfernee Simons to get a star next to Lillard — but the Wizards wanted to move quickly (for that exact reason). Now Miami is waiting on the Trail Blazers’ next move.