Since the 2019 NBA offseason, the Washington Wizards continue to insist that they have no intention of trading All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal. To show everyone in the league they are serious about keeping him, the Wizards handed Beal a two-year, $72 million contract extension before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season. Even though he won’t become an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2023, rumors are still swirling around Beal and his future with the Wizards.
As of now, the Wizards are planning to stick with their original plan to wait for John Wall to fully recover from an injury and try competing for the NBA championship title once again in the 2020-21 NBA season. However, even if Wall immediately regains his All-Star form and Beal remains consistent with his performance, it’s still hard to imagine the Wizards coming out of the Eastern Conference next year. Without a clear path to title contention, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report believes that the Wizard should no longer delay the “inevitable” and consider trading Beal in the 2020 NBA offseason while his value is still at its peak.
“Holding on to Beal over the offseason could amount to delaying the inevitable, in which case: Why wait? He would fetch a premium at the trade deadline, but his value will never be higher than it is now with two full years (and a player option) left on his deal. This summer’s crummy free-agent market only adds to Washington’s leverage now, as opposed to later. With so little available cap space and so few available stars, teams will be hard-pressed to make substantial upgrades.”
A healthy backcourt duo of Wall and Beal may be enough to bring the Wizards back to the playoffs next season but without having major roster upgrade, winning the NBA championship title may just be a dream for Washington. Instead of being stuck in mediocrity, the Wizards are better off trading Beal for assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process.
Once he becomes officially available on the trading block, several NBA teams who are in dire need of additional star power are expected to express a strong interest in acquiring Beal from the Wizards. According to Favale, some of the teams to watch in the potential trade involving Beal include the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Nuggets, Heat, and the Sixers are already considered legitimate threats in their respective conferences, but they are still not viewed on the same level as other powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Milwaukee Bucks. Adding a player of Beal’s caliber could dramatically change their fate in the 2020-21 NBA season.