NBA trade rumors have been persistent when it comes to players such as Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, and the Washington Wizards’ backcourt duo of point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal. As reported by the Washington Post, trade gossip began to follow Wall and Beal after John Wall’s admission last August that he and Beal “dislike each other on the court.” The rumor mill jumped all over this, stirring up various trade scenarios that involved either John Wall or Bradley Beal being shipped out of Washington.
Hall of Fame Magazine singles out Bradley Beal as the Wizards player who needs to be dealt so the team can move beyond the tiff between he and John Wall. In a related story, Fansided published an opinion piece that champions the idea of the Wizards making a deal for Kevin Love. Love has been a darling of the rumor mill since the 2016 NBA Finals, when his subpar performance and subsequent whispers about his poor overall fit in Cleveland began to gain traction.
The latest NBA trade rumors are pointing toward a potential swap between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards. The particulars of this rumored deal are as follows: the Cavs would receive Bradley Beal, power forward Markieff Morris, and center Marcin Gortat. In return for that trio of players, the Wizards would acquire Kevin Love and small forward Mike Dunleavy from Cleveland.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the defending NBA Champions, but they are feeling the pressure of having to keep up with the Golden State Warriors’ “super team” after the Warriors signed superstar small forward Kevin Durant this summer. If this hypothetical trade were to happen, Markieff Morris would replace Kevin Love in the Cavs’ starting lineup. Morris is a talented, but inconsistent performer. Morris would be able to make up for a portion of what Kevin Love does for Cleveland in terms of scoring and rebounding, but one of the reasons Love is allegedly on the trading block is his lack of ability on the defensive end.
If Markieff Morris was a defensive stopper, this switch would make more sense, but Morris has the reputation of being a bit lazy as a defender, often using that time to rest for the next offensive possession (as detailed by Grantland). Markieff Morris would not only represent an overall downgrade, but he wouldn’t address the Cavs’ defensive issues at power forward.
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Of course, Bradley Beal would be the key component of this trade, and while he is certainly a better player than current Cleveland shooting guard J.R. Smith, Beal may not necessarily be a better fit. Beal is a volume scorer who needs a lot of shots to be at his most effective, and he would not be the focal point of the Cavaliers’ offense if he joined the team. Smith has carved out a niche with the Cavs and knows how to step up as a scorer when he is needed; Bradley Beal may not be able to successfully alter his game to accommodate LeBron James and Kyrie Irving as Smith has done.
Marcin Gortat is a nice piece and would make Cleveland a deeper and more productive team up front. In terms of incoming value for the Cavs, this theoretical trade offer would be reasonable. The bigger question, however, is would this deal ultimately make Cleveland a team better-equipped to defeat the Golden State Warriors? That’s debatable, and would mostly depend on how well Bradley Beal would perform as a secondary offensive option — something he is not at all accustomed to. The decision on this rumored trade proposal would be a tough call from Cleveland’s perspective, but this opportunity might be too tempting to pass up if it were actually being offered.
The Washington Wizards would not even consider dealing John Wall or Bradley Beal if there weren’t problems between the two, so any such deal they might make would be “forced,” and would only happen if the relationship between Wall and Beal becomes highly toxic. Kevin Love would be a welcome addition to the Wizards’ lineup, and his productivity would likely increase if he went from Cleveland to Washington. Marcin Gortat is a very good player, but the team has invested a lot of money in current backup center Ian Mahinmi, who is not as skilled offensively as Gortat, but is a better defensive player.
The final parameter to look at from the Wizards’ point of view is a big one: in this scenario, how well would the team be able to replace Bradley Beal? Marcus Thornton would be Washington’s new starting shooting guard if Beal was no longer with the team, and while Thornton can be an explosive player at times, he is nowhere near the performer that Beal is. Even if the Wizards felt the need to break up the duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal, the lack of a suitable replacement for Beal would most likely kill this deal for Washington.
In terms of what is allowed by the NBA’s trade and salary cap rules, this deal would not get off the ground. Beal just signed a new five-year, $128 million max contract this summer, so he will not become trade-eligible until January 15, 2017. In addition, the salary match required by the league office would be about $10 million per year too high (incoming) for the Cavaliers, as confirmed via the ESPN NBA Trade Machine.
Current NBA trade rumors are circulating that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards may be considering a significant deal involving Bradley Beal and Kevin Love. The Cavs could flip a coin on this one, as the incoming talent is enticing, but the fit of the new players would be a bit questionable. The Wizards would not agree to this swap without a better way to replace Beal, and lastly, the NBA league office would reject this proposed transaction if it were sent to them. Cleveland and Washington may both have reasons to consider swinging a trade, but if they are to work together on a deal, it will have to be a proposal with a completely different structure than the one that is presently being discussed online.
[Featured Image by Nick Wass/AP Images]