The Washington Wizards held onto Bradley Beal through the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline, but questions about his future won’t slow down anytime soon. There will be constant rumors about where he could be playing next as the Wizards are once again on the outside looking in of the playoffs.
The Wizards have said they want to build around Beal and the feeling is mutual, as Beal doesn’t want to leave Washington. However, the team is capped out and they aren’t a very attractive landing spot for players in free agency. Eventually, Washington may have to move on from their 27-year old superstar to help reshape the roster.
Acquiring Beal will not be an easy task. If Washington ever does make him available, it would take an incredible trade package to land him, and rightfully so. The former Florida product is a three-time All-Star, deadly scorer and has developed into a solid playmaker as well. After some durability issues earlier in his career, Beal has turned that around the last five seasons.
Plenty of teams would love to add a player of Beal’s caliber, but it will not be easy. There aren’t many teams that can offer the combination of young players and picks the Wizards would undoubtedly want, but there are a few.
The New York Knicks come to mind. They have seemingly turned things around with Scott Perry and Leon Rose in the front office and Tom Thibodeau as head coach. They have the extra first-round picks to dangle in trade offers along with their own.
Young players such as RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox could be a part of the package. New York also has a ton of cap space, so Washington wouldn’t have to take back any bad contracts to mat salary. New York is desperate for a second star to pair with Julius Randle and Beal would fit the bill if they pony up a player such as Barrett.
The Golden State Warriors are another team to watch if they can push for a trade during the 2021 NBA Draft. They have a golden ticket in the Minnesota Timberwolves first-round pick that is only top-3 protected. If Minnesota lands in the top-3, it is an unprotected pick in 2022 that Golden State will possess.
The Warriors could also offer up rookie James Wiseman, who has a sky-high ceiling. Their draft picks and players such as Andrew Wiggins or Kelly Oubre Jr. could also be on the table.
If Washington is focused more on draft capital than the players coming back in a trade package, look no further than the third team that could offer a king’s ransom for Beal; the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder seemingly owns the draft for the foreseeable future. Sam Presti has stockpiled draft capital like no other and is waiting to strike, whether it be to move up the draft for a coveted prospect or trade for a star player that no longer likes the situation he is.
Oklahoma City has 34 draft picks over the next seven years, 18 in the first round and 16 in the second round. It is a matter of when, not if, they will use some of those picks to make trades as they will not be making all 34 selections over that time.
The Wizards could continue to hold onto Bradley Beal and build around him and Russell Westbrook, but if they are offered a king’s ransom for him, they will have to think long and hard about accepting a deal for him.
There are some people already whispering in his ear to request a trade. If that day ever comes, Washington will have a bidding war on their hands. This will be something certainly to monitor in NBA trade rumors during the offseason.