Bradley Beal’s trade rumors really heated up on Wednesday following ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s recent appearance on Get Up. Winger has been given the leeway to rebuild or continue a trajectory around high-priced veteran talent.
“[Washington Wizards president of basketball operations] Michael Winger said he has not made up his mind yet,” Windhorst said. “But that indecision has led teams to keep a very close eye on the Wizards. They not only have Beal, but big free agents Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis.”
NBA Rumors: Insider Believes Bucks and Heat Will Lead Parade of Suitors For Bradley Beal
Wojnarowski said, on Wednesday afternoon in a story, that rival teams have begun to reach out to Washington about Beal’s availability. As a result of Beal holding a no-trade clause, Woj added that Winger and Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, are staying in close contact to discuss scenarios presented to the franchise. Beal’s trade value is not only limited by his contract, which includes a 15% trade kicker. But also by his recent injury history and his dip in production.
Beal has spent his entire 11-year career with the Wizards and is coming off a solid season in 2022-23. While he did not average 30 points a game as he did two seasons ago, Beal tallied 23 points on a career-best 50.6% shooting from the field. Beal also knocked down 36.5% of his 3-pointers, contributed nearly four rebounds, and over five assists a game. He produced two double-doubles and scored at least 20 points on 33 occasions.
“Expect the Miami Heat to emerge as significant suitors for Bradley Beal… I’m told another team looming as a potential suitor…the Milwaukee Bucks.”
— Stadium (@Stadium) June 14, 2023
Milwaukee is coming off a disappointing playoff run, becoming the fifth No.1 to lose to a No. 8 seed in NBA history. The Bucks already have their big 3 with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday. Here is more from The Athletic.
“Trading for Beal would be a massive move for the Bucks and one that would significantly change how the team tries to win another championship with Giannis Antetokounmpo in his prime in Milwaukee. But it would also be a complicated move to make because of Beal’s contract situation and the current state of the Bucks roster.”
Middleton has a $40.3 million player option, which he has until June 21 to exercise. If Middleton does opt-in, the Bucks will have $157.8 million committed to eight players. Jevon Carter also has a $2.2 million player option. The Bucks only have a second-round selection in the upcoming draft.
According to insiders, a Bucks-Wizards gets a deal done only if either Middleton or Holiday is included. Middleton could be swapped straight up for Beal. But he would have to opt in or agree to a sign-and-trade with the Bucks before a trade could occur.
Milwaukee would have to include a player who makes under $12 million to make the Holiday-Beal trade scenario work. That player would likely be Grayson Allen or MarJon Beauchamp. Allen is on an expiring contract. Meanwhile, Beauchamp is under contract for the next three seasons, the last two being club options.
While Milwaukee probably will jump at a deal for Beal, I am not sure Washington is too excited. Middleton and Holiday are older than Beal. The only saving grace is that the Wizards could save money. Middleton is in the last year of his deal unless he signs an extension. Holiday has two years on his contract, with the 2024-25 campaign being a player option.
Miami is in a similar situation as Milwaukee financially. The Heat have seven players with fully guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season. Victor Oladipo has a $9.4 million player option that he is expected to exercise. That means if Miami exercises the $1.9 million on Haywood Highsmith as projected, the Heat would be on the hook for $173.1 million for nine players. Add the expected $3.4 million salary for the No. 18 pick that would put the Heat close to the second tax apron.
Still, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says there is a way that Miami could acquire Beal and Damian Lillard, another team target.
“There is a path to the Heat acquiring both Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s Bradley Beal, but it would require the cooperation of the Trail Blazers and the Wizards, as well as the two stars pushing their way to Miami. “Somehow get word to both Lillard (or his agent Aaron Goodwin) and Beal (or his agent Mark Bartelstein) that the Heat is trying to pull off both Lillard and Beal trades.”
The Heat may be able to pull off one of the trades for Lillard or Beal, but I can’t see both occurring. For either deal to happen, the Heat would likely have to part with at least Bam Adebayo or Tyler Herro and their first-round pick this year. Nikola Jovic, Duncan Robinson, or Kyle Lowry, along with future assets, may also need to be included, particularly if the Heat want both players.
“The goal is to win a championship, and this organization will do anything possible for that to happen,” Adebayo said at Wednesday’s exit interviews. “I feel like everybody in here knows it’s a business. And that’s why you cherish the moments you go through with your teammates, with your brothers, because you never know what can happen next year.”
Other Teams Could Trade For Beal
The New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers are also considered potential suitors for Beal. The Knicks make sense, as they have been rumored to seek a second star and possess the assets to get a deal done. The Sixers are a viable option only if James Harden bolts.
Given their current salary situation, Boston appears to be the least likely of the teams to trade for Beal. Unless the Wizards want Malcolm Brogdon or Derrick White as part of the package, the Wizards probably could do worse. Wojnarowski appears to agree with this assessment.
“My feel from talking to sources is that the Celtics are not necessarily in on this one. Their intention is to get Jaylen Brown on a contract extension this year. Even if they got Jaylen Brown done, the idea of bringing in Bradley Beal would be extraordinarily difficult because of the three contracts together. I don’t think any conversation that involves trading Jaylen Brown is something the Celtics are super interested in right now.”