Free Bradley Beal!
Okay maybe that is a bit much considering he is not serving a life sentence for a wrongfully convicted crime.
But playing the prime of your career in NBA obscurity that is Washington D.C., once alongside injury prone John Wall and now a diminished Russell Westbrook, is pretty damn close.
Beal dropped 47 points Wednesday night and it still wasn’t enough to beat the New Orleans Pelicans.
It’s frustrating and you can see it all over Beal’s face as he sat defeated on the bench. But this isn’t a new narrative for Beal.
He set a NBA record that nobody wants to hold; 10 consecutive losses in games where he scores 40 plus points.
He is averaging 35.5 points per game which would be the fifth-highest mark for an individual player in the three-point era. The problem is that the numbers are coming in losses, and there is no easy fix to the Wizards issues. They’re in a rebuild and refuse to accept that.
“It’s tough. I’m not gonna sit here and be naive. It’s tough. We wanna win. I wanna win. This is why I stayed. I wanna win (here). I figure this is the place I can get it done. So it’s tough.” Beal said after the loss to the Pelicans. “I’m never gonna shift my blame to my teammates. I’m never gonna blame coach. I’m always gonna blame myself, look at my self and future out how I help us win.”
As for the “Sad Brad” memes that been exploding on social media after each Wizards loss, Beal acknowledges he needs to fix his poker face.
“I gotta be better with that. The media is gonna blow it up, rightfully so. I’m mad about losing. If I was sitting over there laughing and smiling, what is the media gonna say about that? ‘Oh he doesn’t take it seriously.’ I just hate losing. And I’m gonna continue to show my pissed off face. I’ll try to control them as much as I can, but I don’t like losing.”
Bradley Beal was going through it on the bench. pic.twitter.com/OFLbkdbVMe
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 27, 2021
Beal wants to win, and should want out. But his loyalty runs too deep, and is going to be the reason for his self decay. So let’s take the hit for him, request the trade and build some potential trade packages to finally free Beal.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors do it again.
They bring in another star player in Bradley Beal, bypassing the idea of the slow grind back to the top.
The trade would be built around two pieces as good as any the Wizards could get around the league: James Wiseman, the no. 2 pick in the 2020 draft, and a future first-round pick from the Timberwolves, who have the third-worst record in the NBA this season. To make the salary work, the Wizards can take back Kelly Oubre Jr. as well.
Oubre has struggled mightily in Steve Kerr’s read-and-react motion offense, averaging 12.1 points and 1.3 assists per game on career-worst shooting percentages from the field (37.3) and 3-point range (23.3). The fit doesn’t work and the two sides are going to go their separate ways by the deadline.
Wiseman, for all his potential, isn’t ready for prime time and playoff games which the Warriors will be in for the foreseeable future with Curry, and eventually Klay Thompson. He also isn’t a three point shooter, something vital to the Steve Kerr motion offensive system. Wiseman could work if Green isn’t there, but two non 3 point threats do not work in that offense.
He is also just 19 years old, a ways away form being ready to truly compete with the elite bigs in the league. Anthony Davis is 27, Nikola Jokic 25, both fully grown and developed men. It was always unfair to assume Wiseman as a teenager could be a true disruptor to them in a playoff series.
Bringing in an established star, at his peak powers, in Beal, allows the Warriors to further expand the length of their championship window.
A Big Four of Curry, Beal, Thompson, and Green next season would be fascinating. There’s no such thing as too much shooting, especially when those shooters can all move without the ball. The Warriors would be just as explosive as the Nets, but with less redundancy on offense and a former Defensive Player of the Year anchoring their back line
The biggest hurdle for Golden State would be financial. Even a franchise with seemingly unlimited pockets might struggle to pay the monstrous luxury tax bills that would come from having five players on max contracts for two seasons.
For the Wizards, landing Wiseman, who by all accounts has looked great in his limited role, is a huge win. Add on the Timberwolves pick which can turn into Cade Cunningham in this years draft, the Wizards rebuild will be a quick one.
The Nuggets are on the cusp of being a NBA champion. They just need that extra oomf to get them there. Bradley Beal is that missing player.
To land Beal, the Nuggets have to sacrifice youth and depth, but it will be worth it.
Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris, Bol Bol, a 2021 first round pick and 2023 first round pick for Beal.
For the Nuggets they get their guy, their own big 3. A Jokic, Murray, Beal trio will be just as explosive as the big 3 in Brooklyn, and actually fit better together. When they go head to head with the Lakers and Clippers, they have themselves one more superstar to counter act the fact that their duo is better than the Jokic-Murray duo.
There’s a world in which Porter Jr. has a higher long-term ceiling than Beal, but Denver may be ready to compete for titles now. Beal helps more on that front.
For the Wizards, they get a young promising building block in Michael Porter Jr., Gary Harris, a good guard to keep Westbrook content, and Bol Bol who may emerge as a top player in this league with the right development.
By the time Harris and Westbrook’s deals are up, the Wizards will have a young but prime frontcourt of Porter Jr., Rui Hachimura and Bol Bol.
It feels like a win-win for both sides.
New Orleans Pelicans
Lonzo Ball, JJ Redick, a 2021 first-round pick, a 2022 first-round pick swap, a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 first-round pick swap for Bradley Beal.
This is a Rockets- or Pelicans-like package Washington could potentially land if it makes Beal available.
The Wizards get Lonzo Ball, for that ever it is he’s worth and JJ Reddick to make the salary work. But the real jackpot her his the plethora of first round picks to bolster their future.
The Pelicans get off two players who don’t fit their future plans, while adding a dynamic scorer to the already dynamic duo of Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson.
The offensive fit between Beal, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson is easy to imagine. It’d put a lot of defensive responsibility on the shoulders of Steven Adams, but that trio would likely be enough to win plenty of shootouts.
The risk for the Pelicans, of course, is that Beal can opt out of his contract after 2021-22. At that point, he’ll still be on the right side of 30, which means plenty of teams would likely be interested in offering his next contract.