Bradley Beal has made it clear that he wants to be traded before the deadline (if not sooner), and the Wizards have made it clear they are prepared for a fire sale of all their stars. With the team’s locker room in chaos, and their payroll maxed out, they’re staring down the barrel of a long rebuild, and Beal is their most valuable trade chip.
Not surprisingly, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Beal is generating far more interest than both John Wall and Otto Porter. At 25 years old and with a fairly team-friendly contract, there isn’t a team in the league who couldn’t readily use his scoring, spacing, and length on the perimeter.
Specifically regarding the Sixers, Beal would satisfy their need for a “final piece.” While I realize for many people that player was Butler, I think the team is still one star away if they want to compete for a championship now and in the near future.
Put in other words, I don’t think our fourth or even fifth best player should be JJ Redick. The Celtics’ “big three” had Rondo, the Heat’s “big three” had Ray Allen, and the Warriors’ “big three” didn’t deter them from adding Durant; I don’t see any reason why we should stop adding star players.
The Sixers have the cap room and flexibility to absorb another max contract, or in this case, near-max contract. Any trade would require the front office to unload some current salaries, but they have the players to do it (more on that later).
I don’t think we should have any question over whether Elton Brand and company are bold enough to make another roster-altering trade.
They should be well aware of the fact that players like Beal don’t come around as often as you hope. I think that’s what ultimately inspired them to add Butler, and they should use that same rationale to be aggressive in their pursuit of Beal.
He’s young, he’s relatively cheap, and most importantly he’s a star player that logically fits around players like Embiid and Simmons. While he is capable of leading the offense, Beal has thrived throughout a career next to one of the most ball-dominant players in the game in Wall. Truth be told, I can’t think of many players who would be a better fit next to the Embiid-Simmons-Butler trio.
And if you like what Butler has brought to the table offensively, you would love Bradley Beal. Beal is a career 39% from three with a true shooting percentage of 55%, compared to Butler, who has shot 34.4% from three with true shooting percentage of 57%.
In their most recent full season (2017-18) Beal shot 37.5% from three with a true shooting of 57.3%; Butler shot 35% from three with a 59% true shooting percentage.
These numbers show a player equally as productive as Butler, with a game tailored slightly more toward shooting. That’s exactly what the Sixers could use. Defensively speaking, Beal is a head and shoulders upgrade over Redick and Fultz, and provides the length and size to switch across the perimeter.
The question of whether or not Beal should be pursued isn’t difficult—he absolutely should be.
The question we need to ask is what would we need to give up?
If I had to guess, any future trades will start with Smith. He’s a raw talent with high potential, and that has plenty of value to a team in the Wizards’ situation.
Additionally, considering Fultz’s uncertainty, and the relative uncertainty of the Miami pick—despite the fact that it looks promising—I don’t think any trade for Beal would be completed without a tangible player of value attached, and Smith fits that.
Other than Wilson Chandler in a salary-dump, the team really can’t afford to move one of their current rotation players without creating depth concerns.
A Wizards team facing a long rebuild is guaranteed to want a draft pick, and the fact of the matter is this is the most valuable pick in the Sixers’ arsenal. There’s a very strong likelihood that Miami begins tanking in the near future, and if that’s the case, their 2021 pick could fall high in the lottery.
I don’t need to reiterate to Sixer fans the importance of draft capital to a team about to rebuild; I would be surprised if any trade for Beal didn’t involve this asset.
In the context of trading for a star player, Fultz won’t have the kind of value the Sixers should be looking for. With that said, the team has been blunt with their desire to wash their hands of the “Fultz saga,” and that in and of itself may have some hidden value.
The real question is whether or not Washington believes Fultz’s potential is worth the headache. It would be understandable if a team that’s clearly ailing from a toxic culture didn’t want anything to do with Fultz and his camp. On top of that, if they trust the assessment from medical professionals that Fultz shoulder is healthy, then its worth wondering if Washington believes Fultz can still develop into a starting point guard.
Either way, I don’t believe that a package for Beal necessarily needs to include Fultz. Smith, the 2021 Miami pick, and some auxiliary late first and second round picks could be enough to get the deal done.
Here’s the offer I’m putting forward:
I think the market for Beal is clearly in the Wizards favor, and that means they’ll likely get a better offer than Smith, a 2021 #1, and Chandler as a salary dump; for that reason I throw Fultz in the deal.
I’m not assuming this is a package the Wizards would accept, but it’s one that both teams would strongly consider. Personally, I’m not opposed to dealing both Fultz and a future Sixers’ #1 if it means getting Beal and convincing Butler to stay.