With the Washington Wizards dead-last in the Eastern Conference despite the fact Bradley Beal is currently leading the entire NBA in scoring, a recent trade idea suggested that the Toronto Raptors could acquire the shooting guard for a package anchored on their top playmaker, Fred VanVleet.
As explained on Thursday by Bleacher Report's Dan Favale, it appears that every other team should be "circling" Beal, given how he is the only player consistently producing at a high level for the erstwhile Eastern cellar-dwellers. However, he stressed that his proposed scenario is different from the other ones involving the two-time All-Star, as it would involve two of the Raptors' established players.
In the hypothetical deal, the Raptors would acquire Beal and forward/center Moritz Wagner for VanVleet, OG Anunoby, a 2021 first-round pick, a 2023 first-rounder, and a pick swap in the 2024 draft. This transaction, according to Favale, would normally be a "no-no" for a rebuilding team like the Wizards, though in this case, both Anunoby (23) and VanVleet (27 years old in February) are young enough to fit Washington's timeline and can contribute on both ends of the floor.
"Gaining control of three Toronto first-rounders in the process is a rock-solid bonus," the Bleacher Report writer continued, further explaining how the Wizards could benefit from the move. "The 2021 first shouldn't be great. But the 2023 first and 2024 swap both postdate Beal's entry into 2022 free agency. Washington could wind up striking gold if he bolts."
While the transaction would give the Raptors a top-flight scorer in Beal and an explosive offense as he teams up with Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry, Favale cautioned that there is one major drawback that Toronto will have to keep in mind. He noted that Anunoby and VanVleet are among the club's top defenders and that there could be a serious "downside" to that, especially considering Siakam's slow start to the 2020-21 season and the fact Lowry will be turning 35 in March. However, it was also suggested that the hypothetical trade still might have more positives than negatives for the Raptors if it becomes a reality.
"But let's not pretend Beal doesn't substantively, and immediately, elevate the Raptors' ceiling. He puts far more pressure on half-court defenses. Anunoby and VanVleet can play off anyone, but neither compares as an attacker or off-the-dribble jump-shooter."As the Raptors are also having a hard time picking up momentum, with their 7-11 record only good for 11th in the East, Beal is not the only player they could target ahead of the March 25 trade deadline. Earlier this month, it was recommended that the team could re-acquire their onetime top scorer, DeMar DeRozan, from the San Antonio Spurs in a deal involving four players and their first-round pick in the 2022 draft.