Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal’s inclusion in the latest NBA trade rumors is all smoke. Or at least, that’s what Beal seems to be hinting at.
Teams have long coveted the 28-year-old hoping the Wizards might eventually make him available in a trade. Opposing players want to play with Beal, too. Meanwhile, Washington continues to assert the combo guard is a cornerstone player for a franchise struggling to build sustainable success.
Beal once again finds himself in the thick of trade talk just days before the NBA draft. However, he is giving basketball fans indications he is not going to demand a trade.
Reports suggested Bradley Beal was weighing a trade request ahead of the NBA draft
The NBA trade rumor mill reached a frenzied pitch over the weekend when Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported Beal was considering making a trade request before Thursday’s NBA draft.
Beal regularly expressed his desire to see things through in Washington and help turn the Wizards into Wizards. However, one source close to Beal told Fischer the situation was more “fluid” ahead of the draft.
That report sent contenders into scramble mode. Chief among the contenders anxious to make a splash and land Beal: the Golden State Warriors.
Reports deemed Beal the Dubs’ top target were he to become available. Fischer had also reported teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat were on Beal’s list in terms of teams he might prefer to join.
Yet, for all the commotion caused by reports of Beal’s uncertainty, the Wizards star remains steadfast in his current commitment to the Wizards.
Beal appeared to suggest the rumors were false with a subtle move on Twitter
While Beal has always felt a certain comfort level in speaking his mind, he moved in relative silence when confronting the latest rumors. Only astute observers could catch his suggestion the rumors were false.
Beal “liked” a tweet depicting the cover of The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, with the title replaced by the caption “The Cap On This App.” It’s entirely possible Beal had other motives for liking the tweet. However, given the timing of the report detailing his possible trade request and his liking the tweet, there appears to be a correlation.
Moreover, Fred Katz of The Athletic reported Beal has not requested a trade and that there isn’t even a “timid suggestion” he plans to do so. Katz also said the organization regards Beal as an untouchable.
Beal is feeling a bit of unrest at the Wizards’ new head coach. Katz reported Beal wanted Sam Cassell to get the job, which the Wizards ultimately gave to Wes Unseld Jr.
Still, Beal himself appeared to indicate he plans to stay in D.C. when the dust settles.
How can the Wizards build around Beal?
Washington is likely to cater to Beal’s wishes or give him more input in personnel decisions. How can the Wizards build around him?
The Wizards are a bit handicapped by Russell Westbrook’s contract. Some reports link Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers in a possible sign-and-trade. Moving the former league MVP might free up the books while also allowing the Wizards to get assets.
Simultaneously, Beal and Westbrook appeared to establish strong chemistry last season. Maybe Beal would prefer to play with The Brodie going forward, which would force Washington to get extremely creative in pursuing avenues to upgrade the roster.
In any case, Wizards general manager Tommy Shepherd has work to do in appeasing his superstar guard. Otherwise, the “smoke” behind all the rumors could clear, and Beal could look for an out.