What a trade deadline package for Beal could look like


As of now, the Wizards do not plan to trade Bradley Beal before the 2022 NBA Trade deadline. 

That won't stop teams from calling, though. Furthermore, this year's trade deadline will be the last chance for Washington to move Beal before he hits free agency, so it wouldn't be the worst idea to figure out what your best player is worth on the open market.

If you look at past frameworks of superstar trades in the NBA, there's a pattern for what teams can typically get back for offloading their best player. As of now, the Wizards wouldn't be on the fruitful end of that spectrum. 

Jimmy Butler (2018): Sixers trade Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 2nd round pick

Granted, Butler had run his course in Minnesota by the time he was traded to Philly, but he still got the Timberwolves Covington and Saric as the headliners of the return. Both were considered solid, young role players at the time, so that's what Minnesota settled for.

Beal is on an expiring contract with the Wizards, as was Butler at the time of the trade above. Acquiring teams tend to save value in trades for players on expiring contracts because there's always a chance that player leaves in free agency. Compare what Minnesota received to the haul the Bulls got for Butler just a year earlier, and you begin to see how the price starts to change. 


Jimmy Butler (2017): Timberwolves trade Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, No. 7 overall pick in 2017 (Lauri Markkanen)

On an expiring contract, Butler netted two decent role players. With two years left, he brought back a top-10 draft pick and two promising young players. One (LaVine) even turned into an All-Star.

This has been the case around the league for years. With one year left on their contract, star players tend to bring back starters and/or role players with limited upside. The Paul George trade from 2017 and Anthony Davis deal from 2019 are probably the exceptions here.

Kawhi Leonard (2018): Raptors trade DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, 2019 1st round pick (Keldon Johnson)

Paul George (2017): Thunder trade Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis

Once you include a star player with multiple years left on their contract, you start to see those starters/role players turn into high-upside youngsters while the draft picks start to roll in as well. 

James Harden (2020): Nets trade Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Caris LeVert, 2022, 2024, 2026 BKN 1sts and 2021, 2023, 2025, 2027 1st-rd pick swaps

Kyrie Irving (2017): Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, 2018 1st via BKN and a 2nd via MIA

Paul George (2019): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, 2022, 2024, 2026 1sts from LAC, 2021 and 2023 1sts via MIA, 2023 and 2025 1st-rd pick swaps

Harden, George and Irving all had two years left on their contracts when they were moved, and while all three have a case as better players than Beal, you can see how much better it is to trade a star player earlier. 

Whether the Wizards want to trade Beal or not, this year's trade deadline would probably be the worst time to do it from a value perspective. History shows us teams will pay up for the player, but they'll pay a premium for the security that comes with the extra years left on a given contract. 

From strictly a value perspective, the best time to trade Beal would've been at one of the last two trade deadlines, not this one. Washington could be better off trying to build around their All-Star shooting guard, which lines up with GM Tommy Sheppard's comments recently on their plans moving forward.

"You want to be able to build something stable and [Beal] is a cornerstone of that," Sheppard said a week ago. "If something changes that'll be up to him, but for us, we've been brutally transparent this entire time of what our goals are and where we're headed."