Heading into the 2020 NBA offseason, Bradley Beal was supposed to be the most coveted trade asset available. Beal has been the focus of trade rumors for a few years now, and it might finally be time for the Washington Wizards to pull the trigger as they look to rebuild the franchise.
But some unexpected superstars have been added to the trading block recently. Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and even James Harden could be on the move this offseason, which would spell big trouble for Beal and the Wizards.
Bradley Beal has ascended into a superstar
When Beal came into the league in 2012, he was seen as nothing more than a role player. He didn’t even start every game as a rookie for the Wizards, and he averaged a modest 13.9 points per game.
Beal upped his average to 17.1 points per game in year two, solidifying himself as a legitimate second scorer on a playoff team. He’s only gotten better since then, too, and now Beal is considered one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA.
Beal scored over 22 points per game in three straight seasons from 2016-2018. He even turned himself into a better playmaker and team leader, as he increased his assist and rebound numbers as well.
In 2019, Beal supplanted himself as an elite scorer in the league. He averaged 30.5 points per game and kept the Wizards afloat in the Eastern Conference all season despite missing John Wall for the entire year.
Beal proved last season that he can be the best scorer on a title contender, and he entered the offseason with the highest trade value of his career.
Beal’s trade value was the highest it’s ever been
The 2020 offseason was poised to be the perfect time for the Wizards to trade Beal for valuable assets if they wanted to do so. There are no elite free agents on the market this year, and the offseason was expected to be drama-free in terms of big-name trades.
Beal was supposed to enter the offseason as the most valuable trade asset in the NBA. The Wizards have a mess of a roster outside of Wall and Beal, and Wall has shown no signs that he can even stay on the court of late.
Washington could send Beal to a contender in return for draft picks and young talent if they please, but that road just got a little tougher.
Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and others are destroying Beal’s value
With Beal slated as the most coveted trade target of the 2020 offseason, the Wizards could’ve gauged a contender for more than what he’s really worth. NBA teams are always desperate for elite talent, and franchises like the Warriors and Nets would give up plenty of valuable assets to put their rosters over the top.
But just in the last week, names such as Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and even James Harden have popped up on the trading block. Westbrook actually requested a trade from the Rockets, so he could be the first domino to fall once the season begins.
If perennial All-Stars such as those become legitimate trade targets, Beal will fall back in the pecking order. Teams will go after veterans with playoff experience over Beal, which would cut down the Wizards’ potential trade partners.
Washington should strike fast if they want to move Beal before the season begins.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference