The Sixers' Summer Of Lillard has quickly pivoted to the Summer Of Lillard Or Maybe Beal, Whichever One Wants To Come Play With Joel Really.
Rumblings around Bradley Beal considering a trade request ahead of Thursday's 2021 NBA Draft have basketball fans rapt with attention, particularly Sixers fans after multiple reports have named the Sixers as one of the destinations Beal might be interested in if a trade does come down.
And if Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey is eyeing up the Beal situation before Thursday night, he might have an edge on the competition in trade talks thanks to an unexpected connection with the 28-year-old All-Star that's already on the roster: Assistant coach Sam Cassell.
In a story published Monday on The Athletic, Wizards beat writer Fred Katz reported that Beal wasn't terribly happy with Washington's coaching search this offseason because he had a specific candidate in mind:
"But that control didn’t reach the Wizards’ recent head coaching search the way Beal wanted, according to sources, one of the reasons he was frustrated when his top choice for the job — 76ers assistant Sam Cassell, an assistant with Washington during Beal’s first couple of NBA seasons — couldn’t land a second interview."
Oh, so Beal is very tight with his old assistant coach? Cool, very cool. Gonna just file that away in the "that helps" column.
There are so many factors that go into a guy like Beal winding up somewhere else, but any little edge is helpful, so this is definitely a plus.
Because of Beal's contract situation - he has one year left, and then a player option for 2022-23 - he has a bunch of leverage, in that a team trading for Beal will want to know he's going to sign an extension before handing over a number of assets. So if Beal tells the Wizards brass that he prefers heading to Philadelphia because he likes playing for Cassell, that's not an automatic clincher - but it certainly helps.
And if the Sixers want to wrest a player like Beal away from the Wizards while teams like the Warriors and Celtics are reportedly also circling, every edge matters.
The NBA Draft is Thursday, July 29.