NBA Rumors: Bradley Beal Almost Formed Thunder’s ‘Big Three’ With Kevin Durant And Russell Westbrook In 2012

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder passes the ball against Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards during the first half at Capital One Arena on November 2, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Will Newton / Getty Images

Though the 2019-20 NBA season is still in limbo due to the spread of the coronavirus worldwide, rumors have already started circulating around All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal and his future with the Washington Wizards. Beal may have agreed to sign a contract extension with the Wizards last summer but with the team once again expected to suffer a disappointing season, most people expect him to finally follow the footsteps of other NBA superstars and demand a trade from Washington in the 2020 NBA offseason. Beal is aware of all the rumors surrounding him, but it was not the first time that his name surfaced in trade speculations.

In a recent appearance on Showtime’s All The Smoke podcast, which is currently posted on YouTube, Beal revealed that he had already heard his name being mentioned in trade rumors even before he officially became an NBA player. Prior to his selection as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Beal said that he was almost traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder to serve as a third fiddle for Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in exchange for James Harden.

“We’re sitting in the draft room. Sure enough my agent, was like, ‘It’s possible you might go to OKC.’… I said, ‘Damn, how am I gonna go there? I didn’t even work out for OKC.’ I only worked out for three teams: Washington, Cleveland, and Charlotte…[OKC] were gonna trade up to 2 or 3, get me, trade James to Washington,” Beal said, as transcribed by Michael Corvo of ClutchPoints. “I’d’ve been in OKC with KD and Russ,” he added.

Beal no longer mentioned why the 2012 blockbuster deal between the Thunder and the Wizards failed to materialize. Had it happened, it could have dramatically changed the NBA landscape. Replacing the disgruntled Harden with a younger and cheaper Beal would have expanded the Thunder’s championship window with Westbrook and Durant.

Beal may still lack experience during that time, but he could have filled the void Harden left on the offensive end of the floor. Also, unlike Harden, Beal has no problem serving as the second or third fiddle and is capable of excelling in an off-ball capacity, making him the ideal fit alongside ball-dominant superstars like Durant and Westbrook. The “Big Three” of Beal, Durant, and Westbrook would have undoubtedly made the Thunder a more dangerous team and could have brought multiple NBA championship titles to Oklahoma City.

After the Beal-to-OKC 2012 deal fell apart, the Rockets ended up trading Harden to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and two first-round picks.