When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in the recent free agency, the Philadelphia 76ers emerged as one of the top three favorite NBA teams to fully dominate the Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season. Unfortunately, earlier in the season, the Sixers realized that they were still not on the level of the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors which forced them to engage in a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire Jimmy Butler.
The acquisition of Jimmy Butler has undeniably improved the Sixers’ performance on both ends of the floor. Butler gave the Sixers a very reliable scoring option next to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and a player who can be tasked to guard the opposing team’s best player. However, despite the major upgrade on their roster, some people still doubt if the Sixers are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference.
To “separate” themselves from other Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Celtics, Raptors, and the Milwaukee Bucks, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes that the Sixers should consider making another “massive move” before the February NBA trade deadline and target Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.
“The Sixers need another distributor to relieve some of the burden carried by Ben Simmons; Beal set a career-high in assists last season and has nearly matched that per-minute production in this one. Their best lineups run light on shooting, especially if Butler (career 34.3 percent) falls back to Earth; Beal averages 2.1 splashes at a 38.9 percent clip for his career. Outside of Butler, their perimeter defense is problematic, but Beal can defend either guard spot. It’d be a dream pickup for Philly, assuming this can get done without disrupting the Sixers’ trio of Butler, Simmons and Joel Embiid.”
The arrival of Bradley Beal in Philadelphia will not only make the Sixers the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, but it could also put them in a strong position to dethrone the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors. Beal will give the Sixers another superstar who can efficiently play off the ball. Beal will allow Sixers Head Coach Brett Brown to bring back J.J. Redick to the bench and lead their second unit.
As of now, it remains unknown what the Wizards are looking for in the deal that involves Bradley Beal. If they will accept a trade package including Markelle Fultz, Wilson Chandler, Zhaire Smith/Landry Shamet, and a future first-round pick, Buckley believes that the deal is a no-brainer for the Wizards. However, if they will ask for Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid, the Sixers should immediately end the trade discussion.