With the 2021 NBA Draft quickly approaching, news has reached the league offices that Wizards All-Star goalie Bradley Beal is considering requesting a trade ahead of Thursday night’s event.
“He knows he has to make a decision before the draft,” a source with direct knowledge of Beal’s thinking told Bleacher Report. Over the past year, those familiar with Beal’s devoted relationship with the Wizards have consistently rebuffed the idea that he had an interest in playing elsewhere. Still, a second source close to Beal, contacted by B / R, confirmed that the situation is now fluid.
Beal has long maintained to confidants his desire to stay in Washington, as long as he believed the Wizards were in a good position to advance deep into the playoffs. And if Beal was looking for a new team, he would only do so to land in an established winning environment, sources said.
Beal does not have a proverbial list of favorite destinations, but it has been mentioned by several sources that he would be happy to join teams such as Boston, Golden State, Miami or Philadelphia, although Beal asking for a trade would almost guarantee a war. expansive bidding across the league. The number of potential destinations and interested suitors could cover a significant portion of the NBA.
“Beal is the guy right now,” said an assistant general manager. “The only guy who could be available, who could help you win it all.” “
Making a decision before the draft allows Beal and Washington the most flexibility to secure a trade that benefits both the player and the team. “It’s so much easier to make a deal when you know what the draft picks are, as opposed to future picks,” said another senior team official.
Toronto, for example, could offer a package focused on the No.4 selection and Pascal Siakam, who is considered available for trade by league sources. The Raptors have been ranked as one of the most active teams in pre-draft commercial chatter, exploring every possibility, from trading their choice in a deal for an All-Star such as Beal or Damian Lillard to returning. and to scavenge more draft capital to embrace a post -Kyle Lowry rebuild.
Golden State’s best offer for Beal would include picks No. 7 and 14 in this draft. New Orleans, owner of the 10th selection, has also long been an interested contender for Beal.
This is not to limit the scope of potential destinations to teams selecting the lottery. The Hawks, with a wealth of young and talented wings, could be an attractive offering from players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter and Cam Reddish, as well as the 20th pick and future draft capital. It would still leave a solid foundation for Trae Young, Clint Capela, John Collins (if he can finalize an overtime) and De’Andre Hunter, who many league staff considered Atlanta’s second best player this season. before his injury.
Boston’s path to secure Beal would seem much more expensive, as the Celtics’ offer almost certainly has to include Jaylen Brown and any future draft picks they may part with. The move, however, would pair Beal with his close friend and fellow St. Louis native Jayson Tatum, and Brown could be the most beloved young player the Wizards could win in any comeback, including Ben Simmons.
As speculation revolved around the NBA on Friday, it is believed that Beal’s position was also affected by that of Russell Westbrook in a dynamic that could closely mirror Westbrook’s departure from Houston a year ago. When the 2017 MVP caught wind of James Harden’s dissatisfaction with the Rockets, Westbrook edged out his co-star and asked for a trade first, sources said.
And it looks like Westbrook and Beal are factoring in the uncertainty of their long-term Wizards status when determining theirs. The two All-Stars can become free agents next summer by also declining player options for the 2022-2023 season.
After Philadelphia knocked Washington out of the playoffs, Beal told reporters it was too early to discuss his future with the franchise.
“At the end of the day, I’m in control,” Beal said. “I think that’s my most important thing. People will bring back whatever they want, but I know where my mind is, and I know if it doesn’t come from the horse’s mouth, then it’s gonna be rumors. I am waiting for them. S- -t, they’re starting now.
“So that doesn’t change anything. I guess it’s going to increase a lot more this year with me in the last year of my contract, but for me, I’m relaxing, resting my body, and we’ll assess it all when summer comes. “
Beal has yet to finalize any decision, but summer is definitely here. Many league staff see Beal’s recent developments as yet another momentary flirtation with a new chapter in his career and that he will remain in Washington. Still, there is now a palpable expectation that Beal can finally pull the trigger and let the Wizards brass know his desire to join a new team, before the Pistons come on the clock at No.1.
Jake Fischer covers the NBA for Bleacher Report and is the author of Built to lose: How the NBA’s tanking era changed the league forever.