Wowwwww this is escalating quickly. Bradley Beal has remained steadfastly loyal to the Washington Wizards for years. Just as long as Damian Lillard has pledged allegiance to Portland. Sure, the fact that Beal could make more money by staying in Washington had to factor in a tad to his loyalty. But still. It sucks to see a premier talent waste his basketball prime on a maligned franchise.
...Now all of a sudden, we could have a Kevin Durant-Devin Booker-Bradley Beal trifecta in Phoenix, or Beal joining forces with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in Miami to get the reigning East champions over the hump. The question is, how the hell are these teams going to take Beal off the Wizards' hands without gutting their respective rosters?
A couple astute observations from some beat guys:
The ticking clock on Chris Paul's contract, even if it winds up being a buyout situation, makes this a pressing issue for the Suns in particular. They are looking a little desperate, if we're being honest. Phoenix basically shipped away all its quality depth and premium draft assets just to land KD in the first place. The only semi-appealing pieces you'd want to part with are Deandre Ayton and Cameron Payne. Can't imagine the Wizards would be too jazzed about them.
Some Suns connections with Beal and interesting ideas I can't take credit for thinking of on my own so here's another tweet:
…The rest of it says the Suns can match salaries with the Landry Shamet and Chris Paul contracts, and that Ayton could be a trade chip in a separate deal that helps Phoenix build depth.
Sounds appropriately chaotic and convoluted for the Suns.
As for the Heat, uh, get the fuck over it when it comes to Tyler Herro. You made the NBA Finals without him as an eighth seed. Herro is easily the most appealing asset Miami can bring to the negotiating table, along with plenty more draft capital than the Suns can muster. Throw in one of the undrafted wonders who keyed that Finals run to make the salaries work. Gabe Vincent or Max Strus in some sorta sign-and-trade since they're hitting free agency. Duncan Robinson could help salaries match on his current deal in a package with Herro. Plus, there's Kyle Lowry's expiring contract. Plenty of pieces to work with.
Since Beal has a no-trade clause, he has say as to where he should go. With the Suns in panic, win-now mode and transitioning to new ownership, I'd be way more comfortable embracing #HEATCulture in Miami. Feels like a no-brainer. The Heat just need to send Pat Riley and Coach Spo to the meeting room, have Riley slam his championship rings on the table, and let Spo sell Beal on how he can be the missing piece to turn the Heat into a true perennial contender.
Given that he's been put in such suboptimal positions to succeed in Washington, it'd be such a treat to see Beal grind his ass off alongside Jimmy Buckets and elevate Miami. Erik Spoelstra has been getting by without an elite lead/combo guard for so long. Such a perfect fit, and given how phenomenal the Heat have proven to be at developing undrafted players, who the fuck cares about draft picks? Get Bradley Beal.