However, several NBA pundits weren’t convinced that Beal would end his career with the Wizards, even after the extension was signed. That’s because the All-Star shooting guard can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2022 if he declines his player option for the 2022-23 season.
Beal can pull an Anthony Davis and James Harden and request a trade this offseason since the Wizards aren’t a title contender. The St. Louis native has long maintained to confidants his desire to stay in Washington so long as he believed the Wizards were positioned to advance deep into the postseason, but that hasn’t happened since he signed his extension.
With that said, it appears Beal and the Wizards could be headed for a split this offseason.
Bradley Beal reportedly considering trade request before NBA Draft
According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, Beal is thinking about requesting a trade from the Wizards before the 2021 NBA Draft. The three-time All-Star was supposed to be in Tokyo for the Olympics, but he was ruled out after entering health and safety protocols.
The Wizards lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2021 playoffs in five games. Beal averaged 31.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists during the 2020-21 regular season while shooting 48.5% from the field and 34.9% from beyond the arc. Although he and Russell Westbrook developed excellent chemistry on and off the floor, Beal reportedly knows his time in Washington could be coming to an end.
The sharpshooter doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning the Wizards can trade him anywhere if he does request a trade. If Beal does ask out of Washington, every contender in the league would certainly have interest in acquiring him since he’s one of the best scorers and shooters in the NBA.
While Beal doesn’t have a trade wish list, he would reportedly welcome joining four teams.
Bradley Beal reportedly likes Boston, Golden State, Miami and Philadelphia
Beal would reportedly welcome joining teams such as the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, or Sixers. All four teams would undoubtedly become title contenders if they acquired the Florida product.
Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum is close friends with Beal. They grew up together in St. Louis and would likely love to play with each other. However, Boston would probably have to trade Jaylen Brown to acquire Beal, and it’s unknown if that would be a popular move within the Celtics’ locker room.
The Warriors’ best offer for Beal would likely include the Nos. 7 and 14 picks in the 2021 draft. Washington could also potentially ask for Andrew Wiggins or James Wiseman as well. As long as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are still on the roster, any trade sending Beal to Golden State would make the Dubs legitimate title contenders.
Miami has been linked to Beal for several years. Like Tatum, Heat center Bam Adebayo is good friends with the Wizards star, and Pat Riley has a track record of being aggressive in free agency and trades. The Godfather would likely have to part ways with Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa, and Duncan Robinson to get Beal. The Heat and Wizards could possibly work out a sign-and-trade deal since Robinson is a restricted free agent.
As for the Sixers, they are internally discussing Ben Simmons trade scenarios. They would certainly have to trade the 2017-18 Rookie of the Year and other players — outside of Joel Embiid — to acquire Beal, who has career averages of 22.0 points.
If Beal chooses to request a trade, don’t be surprised if Westbrook does the same since the former MVP probably doesn’t want to play for a rebuilding team.
Russell Westbrook is already being linked to the Lakers
According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, there have been talks about Westbrook being a potential candidate to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal that would include Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma, and Talen Horton-Tucker. LA is looking for a veteran point guard next to LeBron James and Davis.
Like Beal, Westbrook can enter free agency in the summer of 2022 if he declines his 2022-23 player option. The Wizards, who hired Wes Unseld Jr. as their new head coach, are likely hoping that Beal doesn’t request a trade so they can run it back with him and Westbrook.
However, it appears that Washington has to brace for a Beal trade request, and it could happen before the NBA Draft on July 29.