With nine days remaining before the October 21 deadline for signing a contract extension with the team, Bradley Beal has yet to decide on his future with the Washington Wizards. As a result, he remains a constant in trade rumors ahead of the start of the 2019-20 regular season, with a number of teams frequently mentioned as potential suitors or as part of hypothetical trade scenarios.
On Friday, Bleacher Report wrote that the Atlanta Hawks could be among the teams that have the most to gain by trading for Beal, adding that the Wizards would be much better off shipping their starting shooting guard elsewhere in order to “maximize his value.” While the publication’s Greg Swartz predicted that the Hawks have the potential to sneak into next year’s playoffs with their current roster, he added that the Wizards — even with Beal contributing as usual from the backcourt — might turn out to be among the NBA’s worst teams in 2019-20, as point guard John Wall is expected to miss the entire season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
As suggested by Swartz, both the Wizards and the Hawks could benefit from a trade that would send Beal to Atlanta in exchange for two of the Hawks’ young wingmen — Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish — and the 2020 lottery-protected first-round pick they received from the Brooklyn Nets. The Bleacher Report writer explained that such a deal could turn the Hawks into an instant playoff contender, as the theoretical trade would allow Beal to join a youthful, promising core that includes point guard Trae Young, center/forward John Collins, and wingman De’Andre Hunter, who was picked No. 4 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.
As for the Wizards, Swartz suggested that Reddish and Huerter could be the “future of the franchise,” with the 2020 first-round pick also helping to keep Washington’s rebuilding efforts going. Given that Reddish played in the shadow of 2019 first-overall draft pick Zion Williamson at Duke, Swartz hinted that the 20-year-old rookie might even turn out to be the Wizards’ first offensive option if the deal pushes forward, adding that incoming second-year guard/forward Huerter has the ability to shoot from outside and “get others involved” in the offense.
“The Hawks make the leap from playoff hopefuls to postseason locks, while the Wizards pick up three key rebuilding pieces,” Swartz concluded.
As shown on the Wizards’ Basketball-Reference team page for the 2018-19 campaign, Beal had a successful campaign last season, averaging 25.6 points, five rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game for a team that missed the playoffs after finishing 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 32-50 record. Although he does look like a tantalizing trade target for the Hawks — provided they have an actual interest in acquiring him — ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said this week that the Wizards would likely expect an “absolute ransom” if they decide to deal their superstar shooting guard to another organization.