Wizards reportedly moving quickly toward Bradley Beal trade; Heat, Suns frontrunners
After years and years of waiting for Washington to launch Bradley Beal trade talks, the new Wizards management started down that road and negotiations have quickly picked up momentum. This trade could come down before Thursday’s NBA Draft.
The Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns are the two teams in the mix — a mix Beal controls because he has a no-trade clause and will only waive it for the team and trade he likes — reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Why are talks moving quickly? Because of a fear from the Wizards that Beal might not be the best available player in a couple of weeks, and the Heat in particular might look elsewhere. If the Trail Blazers can’t trade the No. 3 pick and Anfernee Simons (plus maybe more picks or players) for a star to put next to Damian Lillard, then Portland and Lillard may sit down to discuss their future. To be clear, as of right now, the Trail Blazers have zero intention of trading Lillard, they are going all-in on rebuilding around him, something league sources have continually repeated to NBC Sports, and something myself and Sean Highkin of the Rose Garden report discussed on the latest PBT Podcast. Lillard is most likely a Trail Blazer to start next season.
As we discussed on that podcast — and echoed by Marc Stein in a Saturday update of his newsletter — Miami would like to wait on a trade for a few weeks, just to see how things shake out with Portland (technically speaking, Lillard could not be traded until July 9, although a deal could be agreed to before then). Washington sees that and is pushing to get a deal done now, just in case. Lillard today is a superior player to Beal and it’s not particularly close (Lillard was Third Team All-NBA this season, averaging 32.2 points and 7.3 assists a game last season, while Beal has not been an All-Star since the pandemic and has played just 90 games across the last two seasons).
The Heat have been considered the frontrunner in the Beal sweepstakes from the start because it’s a franchise Beal has expressed interest in before, and because they are a win-now team built around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. On paper, a healthy Beal (who we haven’t seen for a couple of seasons) would fit well with them. There are various trade constructions, but the Heat reportedly are trying to hold on to swingman Tyler Herro in the deal, reports Antony Chiang of the Miami Herald.
As expected, the Heat is trying to get the Bradley Beal trade done without including Tyler Herro, according to league sources.— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) June 17, 2023
Beal is entering the second season of a five-year, $251 million contract. He has a no-trade clause.
A non-Herro offer would include Kyle Lowry (entering the last year of his contract at $29.6 million), Duncan Robinson, and a couple of first-rounders (Miami could pick this year at No. 18 for the Wizards and include that player in the trade, plus trade a future first). The question for the Wizards is whether they would rather have the expiring contract and financial flexibility that comes with Lowry, or the former Sixth Man of the Year in Herro, who is just 23 and locked in for four years at $120 million total? Also, no Herro trade can be finalized until July 6. Would Beal sign off on a trade where Herro was not on the Heat, adding shooting and shot creation?
In the Suns’ case, the easy way to build a trade is around Deandre Ayton, but Beal would prefer Ayton on the team and Chris Paul moved in a trade, reports Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report/TNT.
Phoenix can offer trade package of Deandre Ayton and Landry Shamet to Washington for Bradley Beal, but it’s believed a Chris Paul, Shamet deal is what it would take if Beal chose to force his way to Suns via his no-trade clause, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 17, 2023
Phoenix got bounced in the playoffs because they could not match the depth and continuity of the Nuggets. Is adding another perimeter-based player who loves to shoot from the midrange, struggles to defend, and has been injured a lot the past couple of seasons (90 games total played over two years) the answer?
Another challenge for Phoenix, however a trade might be constructed, is that having Beal at $46.7 million next season next to Kevin Durant ($47.7 million) and Devin Booker ($36 million) already has the team at $130 million (the salary cap is $134 million), and that is without Ayton at $32.5 million if CP3 is traded away. No matter what they do the Suns will be up against the second tax apron fast and while they would have a “big three” (\or core four if you count Ayton as one) they would be back to where they were this past postseason, with real challenges in rounding out this roster and having any depth. Is adding more star power a winning formula against deeper, more rounded teams such as Denver?
One way or another, don’t be surprised if a trade comes fast. The Wizards want to get a deal done.