Since All-Star point guard John Wall was shelved for the rest of the 2018-19 season with a heel injury, the Washington Wizards have been on a comparative roll, going 6-4 in their last 10 games and moving up to a tie for 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a 19-26 overall record. Shooting guard Bradley Beal has been a key part of this run, scoring 29.8 points per game and shooting 45.7 percent from the field over this 10-game period. But even with the Wizards moving closer to playoff contention in the East, several teams, including the Boston Celtics, could be motivated to trade for Beal ahead of the February deadline, as suggested on Saturday by Bleacher Report.
According to Bleacher Report‘s Ken Berger, the Celtics are among the Eastern Conference contenders who could have the best reasons to trade for Beal, given how the team is “struggling to find an identity.” With a 27-18 record, the Celtics are at fifth place in the East, sitting six games behind the conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks. However, the team has failed to live up to preseason expectations, with the likes of Hall of Famer Charles Barkley recently observing that the Celtics need to make a trade and figure out who their go-to-guys should be, per NESN.
While Barkley appeared to suggest that the Celtics need a role player who excels in defense and/or rebounding, one unnamed league executive told Bleacher Report‘s Berger that Bradley Beal could be the ideal acquisition for Boston. The executive suggested that the Celtics could land the 25-year-old Wizards shooting guard if they give up third-year wingman Jaylen Brown, a future first-round draft pick, and either Marcus Morris or Aron Baynes, both of whom are veteran frontcourt players with expiring contracts.
“The C’s could win the East with a core of Kyrie Irving, Beal, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford. Whether the Wizards would want to help Boston is another story,” Berger wrote.
— NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSBoston) January 19, 2019
Per rival NBA executives and player agents, the Wizards still don’t appear to be willing to trade Beal, who has two years and $56 million remaining on his contract. On the other hand, the former third overall draft pick appears to be much easier to move than his backcourt partner, John Wall, should Washington be planning to make some changes before the trade deadline. Wall, who currently makes $19.2 million, is set to earn $38.2 million once his four-year “super-max” contract extension takes effect.
“Nobody’s going to take the bait on [Wall’s contract.]” They’re stuck with him,” said a league executive quoted by Bleacher Report.
As far as Bradley Beal’s desire for a trade is concerned, the young guard’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, told Bleacher Report that he appears content to remain with the Washington Wizards for the meantime. He stressed that Beal “wants to win” and wants to compete for NBA championships, but would rather stay in Washington and continue helping the team bounce back from their rough start to the 2018-19 season.
“I think he’s seeing progress, and he’s going to do everything he can to lead this team. They got themselves into a huge hole, and he’s going to do his best to get them out of it,” Bartelstein told the publication.