There have been some jaw dropping rumors over the past month or so as players like LeBron James and even Russell Westbrook have been mentioned as possible trade candidates. This summer is going to be crazy for sure, but it’s much more likely that secondary stars like Bradley Beal or Kevin Love will be traded instead of the A-listers mentioned above.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo discussed the possibility that Beal would be dealt out of Washington this summer on Simmons’ podcast last week. Simmons has gotten out in front of plenty of NBA news over the past few years, including his projection of LeBron to the Lakers two years ago when there was zero buzz of that happening.
NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig also talked about the possibility of Beal being on the move recently with the Knicks as a top favorite.
“New York likely would want to wait for Kevin Durant to sign in free agency as the long-running rumors suggest,” Standig said. “Then the question is who gets the second max slot … There’s Beal, who would make a great fit next to a fellow perimeter threat in Durant. The Knicks’ assets include the third pick in 2019, which is a projected tier above the fourth slot since it means landing no less than Duke guard RJ Barrett. New York also has impressive rookie center Mitchell Robinson, point guard Dennis Smith and an unprotected first round pick from Dallas that projects to convey in 2021.”
A Beal trade would likely not happen until mid-July as opposed to around draft time. All of the main teams that will be in the mix of big-time player movement will be reacting to one another, so don’t be surprised if Beal becomes the hottest commodity on the market after the initial wave of free agency and after Anthony Davis is finally traded.
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Kyrie Irving looks like he’s headed to Brooklyn, so the Knicks will be looking for a 1A to place next to Durant. Then there is Irving’s (likely) former team in the Celtics, who will want to fill the star power void left behind.
Multiple reports last week suggested that Celtics boss Danny Ainge is ready to move on from Anthony Davis discussions and that he is now focused on surrounding Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with complementary talent. Beal would be the ultimate complement to those two players but the issue here is that the Celtics would almost certainly need to give up Tatum or Brown in a trade in order to acquire Beal.
The Sixers are also at a point in their development where they could either stay the course and hope for year-to-year improvements from their top young stars or make a blockbuster trade (Ben Simmons?) in order to land an elite player that fits better on the roster. Beal would be a tremendous fit in the Philadelphia lineup.
The darkhorse in all of these rumors are the Chicago Bulls, who have a boatload of young players and draft capital. Gar Forman is under intense pressure to finally lift the Bulls from the doldrums. The Bulls certainly have the assets to land Beal in a trade, but this probably isn’t the best fit. We saw this past season what a Beal-led squad looked like … a 32-win team.