The Washington Wizards entered the 2018-19 NBA season with the goal of fully dominating the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship title. Unfortunately, the Wizards faced lots of struggles since the season started, from failing to establish on-court chemistry and altercation involving players and coaches to losing the face of the franchise, John Wall, to injury. After failing to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference this season, rumors and speculations started to swirl that the Wizards may consider having a huge roster shakeup in the summer of 2019.
During the Wizards’ tough times, Bradley Beal found the opportunity to shine, earning his second NBA All-Star selection after averaging 25.6 points. 5.5 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals on 47.5 percents shooting on the field and 35.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Though he already expressed his desire to finish his NBA career with the Wizards, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report believes that Bradley Beal is one of the NBA superstars who needed to be rescued from his current team.
In the potential trade deal suggested by Bleacher Report, the Wizards will be trading Bradley Beal and Ian Mahinmi to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and a 2020 first-round pick. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. The proposed trade deal will not only be beneficial for the Raptors but also for the Wizards.
“The Wizards would be reluctant to trade Beal after they watched him prove his mettle as a primary option, but this deal facilitates a semi-rebuild while also adding flexibility to a cap sheet in need of exactly that. Ibaka and VanVleet provide leverage in upcoming free-agent negotiations with Tomas Satoransky and Bobby Portis; if the Wizards have proven options at those positions, they might avoid overspending to keep incumbents out of desperation. Powell is a rotation wing who’d play significant minutes immediately, and Anunoby, coming off a down year, is the high-upside, buy-low asset who pairs nicely with a lottery-protected first.”
Bradley Beal reportedly spent All-Star weekend recruiting players to Washington ????
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) February 19, 2019
Trading Bradley Beal is undeniably a tough decision for the Wizards, but it’s something that they should consider if they don’t want to remain as one of the mediocre teams in the league. Aside from acquiring young and talented players and a future first-round pick, the deal enables the Wizards to open a huge chunk of their salary cap space. By dumping the contract of Ian Mahinmi to the Raptors, the Wizards will be left with John Wall as the only lucrative deal on their books.
Hughes proposed the trade deal with the assumption that Kawhi Leonard will be leaving the Raptors in the 2019 NBA free agency. However, if the Raptors make the deal before the calendar turned into the month of July, the presence of Bradley Beal in Toronto gives them a strong chance of convincing Leonard to sign a long-term contract next summer.