Amid a season where they are currently 11th place in the Eastern Conference with a 14-23 record, the Washington Wizards suffered a major setback last week when All-Star point guard John Wall went down with a season-ending Achilles injury. Observers believe this could lead to the team receiving multiple inquiries for their remaining core players, and as Bleacher Report predicted on Wednesday, one such inquiry could lead to Washington shipping shooting guard Bradley Beal and center Dwight Howard to the Dallas Mavericks in a three-way trade.
Writing for Bleacher Report, Dan Favale warned that trading for Beal might ultimately be “impossible” due to the fact that he remains under contract until the end of the 2020-21 season and is still fairly young — as he turns 26 in June. He added, however, that it wouldn’t hurt if the Mavericks still attempted to trade for him, while “[upping] the ante” by offering several assets, may it be proven contributors or future draft picks.
In his proposed three-way trade — which Favale noted could only take place after February 5, or a few days before the NBA‘s 2018-19 trade deadline — the Dallas Mavericks would receive Beal and Dwight Howard, while the Washington Wizards would get Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Wesley Matthews from the Mavericks. The Wizards would also receive Jonathan Isaac from the Orlando Magic, plus several future draft picks. As the third team in the theoretical deal, the Magic would acquire Dennis Smith Jr. from Dallas, and Sam Dekker from Washington.
According to Favale, such a deal could work for the Mavericks, as Beal (23.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.7 assists per game) would give them a proven star who could team up with prized rookie Luka Doncic. The deal could also help them find a new home for Smith, who has been the subject of numerous trade rumors over the past few weeks. Furthermore, Favale added that Dallas could become a “more appealing” destination for potential free agents if Beal would team up with Doncic on the Mavericks’ starting lineup, and could benefit from the additional salary cap space if Howard — among other potential free agents — declines his player option in the summer of 2019.
Per Basketball-Reference, Dwight Howard is averaging 12.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, and a career-low 0.4 blocks in nine games. He is expected to be back in February or March after undergoing lumbar surgery in November of 2018.
Regarding the potential benefits for the other two teams involved in the proposed trade, Favale wrote that the Wizards would be ending up with three “quality prospects” in Brunson, Finney-Smith, and Isaac — as well as a 2021 first-round pick — while moving below the luxury tax threshold by giving up Howard and Dekker. The Magic, on the other hand, could get a quality point guard in Dennis Smith Jr. (13 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists per game) and shore up a weakness that had been plaguing the team since the start of the 2018-19 season.