Bradley Beal is reportedly weighing his future with the Washington Wizards.
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Beal is "considering requesting a trade" from the Wizards prior to the 2021 NBA Draft.
"He knows he has to make a decision before the draft," a source told Fischer.
Word has spread across front offices around the NBA: Bradley Beal is weighing whether to request a trade from the Washington Wizards.- Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) July 24, 2021
"He knows he has to make a decision before the draft," said one source with knowledge of Beal's thinking. More @BR_NBA: https://t.co/M1vhNx0ZRn
Should Beal request a trade, there will be no shortage of interest in him around the league.
A three-time All-Star and one-time member of the All-NBA Third Team, Beal has become one of the NBA's most lethal scorers. In the 2019-20 season, he averaged 30.5 points on .455/.353/.842 shooting splits. In 2020-21, he averaged a career-best 31.3 points per game on .485/.349/.889 shooting splits.
Over the last two seasons, the only player with a higher scoring average than Beal (30.9) is Stephen Curry (31.2).
Known more as a shooter coming into the NBA, Beal has developed into a combo guard capable of scoring at a high level with and without the ball in his hands.
In addition to being a strong 3-point shooter off the catch...
...he's one of the league's craftiest midrange scorers...
...as well as one of the more efficient finishers around the rim at his position.
Beal has also grown as a passer since entering the NBA in 2013. In the first five seasons of his career, he averaged 3.1 assists per game. In the four seasons since, he's bumped that up to 5.1 assists per game.
Scoring is still Beal's bread and butter, but he continues to make strides as a facilitator.
Fischer reported that if Beal does request a trade, he would do so "only to land in an established winning environment."
So which teams could pursue Bradley Beal?
The Boston Celtics are probably the first team to come to mind. They had a rough 2020-21 season, but the Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020 and have one of the league's best young duos in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Speaking of Tatum, it's no secret that he is close friends with Beal, both being from St. Louis. Brown would almost certainly headline a deal for Beal, but Beal and Tatum could form a dynamic one-two punch capable of competing with the best the Eastern Conference has to offer.
The Philadelphia 76ers are another obvious target. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the 76ers have "opened up trade conversations" surrounding Ben Simmons and are seeking an All-Star-calibre player in return. Simmons would give the Wizards one of the league's best prospects to build around while Beal is the type of player who has the potential to thrive alongside Joel Embiid. The icing on the cake: Beal, 28, is on a similar timeline as Embiid, 27.
The Golden State Warriors are going to be in the running for any star who becomes available. One, because it appears as though Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are pushing the front office to do everything they can to put them in a position to compete for another title. Two, because they actually have the assets to pursue a star. It starts with Andrew Wiggins, whose contract would help them match salary, but James Wiseman and Golden State's two first-round picks (No. 7 and 14) in the upcoming draft would likely be the draw for any team dealing with them.
The Miami Heat shouldn't be counted out, mostly because they are never one to sit back in these situations. The Heat have limited draft equity, but the salaries of Goran Dragic ($19.4 million team option for 2021-22) and Andre Iguodala ($15.0 million team option for 2021-22) would help them match salary, and they have some interesting young players in Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa and Duncan Robinson, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason. If they could pull it off, a trio of Beal, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo could get the Heat back in the title race.
The Toronto Raptors deserve mention. In addition to the No. 4 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, they have three players under contract for the foreseeable future who would likely be of interest to teams around the league if they were made available in Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby. Plus, Raptors president Masai Ujiri made it clear at the end of the season that his focus is on winning another championship. Given his track record, the Raptors are always a threat.
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