Bradley Beal is one of the best scorers in the NBA, and despite his shooting struggles this season, he's a stone-cold killer on the offensive end of the floor. The shooting guard has put up over 30 PPG for the last two seasons and should get close to that number after the All-Star break. So far this year, Beal is averaging 23.2 PPG on 45.1% shooting from the floor and 30.0% from three. Beal is one of the many players (James Harden, Damian Lillard, Stephen Curry) who have struggled with their shot this season, so this lack of efficiency should not take away from the fact that the 3-time All-Star is an elite player.
But Beal is not helping a worsening Washington Wizards team that looks to be out of playoff contention as things stand. The team is not that great, ranking 21st in PPG and 19th in OPPG. They do not score at an elite level, have chemistry issues, and cannot stop opponents from getting good looks. As great as Beal has been with his all-around game (4.7 RPG, 6.6 APG), he is not affecting wins for his team. There are even rumors that Beal is not re-signing with Washington, as he looks to push for a move elsewhere. Of course, that is bad news for the Wizards who cannot afford to lose their franchise player without falling into the lottery for a long-term rebuild.
But Beal is 28 years old and counting, meaning he does not have many years left of his prime. A shooting guard with his level of scoring ability should probably look elsewhere because a core of Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Spencer Dinwiddie will not be enough to make any noise in the Eastern Conference. Not to mention, Beal is best suited to a secondary role where he can score in an elite manner without having to be the best player on his team. That means that the 2021 All-NBA performer has to look for the best possible destinations in free agency. Without further ado, here are the 4 best destinations for Bradley Beal. Each of these teams will not have the salary cap to sign Beal straight on, and the only option for them will be via sign-and-trades. If Beal joins one of these 4 contending teams, there will be a new dominant Big Three in the NBA.
Los Angeles Clippers
Big Three: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Bradley Beal
The Clippers’ season is probably a wrap at this point because both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are unlikely to be fully healthy this year. Despite the big guns out with injury, Los Angeles have been competing at a high level (considering their talent) as they hold a 26-27 record which is good for 8th in the West. Nobody is fearing the Clippers anyways this season, but that will change once the two stars are back. But there are still doubts about the Clippers’ ability to win critical games.
They blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals two years ago, and probably need a capable guard to create offense. Beal would be the perfect player for the Clippers, and that is why the franchise will be willing to give up everyone except Leonard and George for him. The likes of Marcus Morris, Eric Bledsoe, Serge Ibaka, and any picks will be thrown Washington’s way in a sign-and-trade. A Big 3 of Leonard, George, and Beal would likely win the West as opponents will have a difficult time defending them.
On the court, they will click because Beal can play on or off the ball at an All-Star level while giving the team another go-to option in the clutch. Kawhi Leonard has been asking for a playmaker for a long time, and even if Beal is not a pass-first guard, he is averaging 6.6 APG this season and will make others around him better. Leonard might not need a pass-first guard but rather one that will relieve pressure off him and PG13 in big games.
Big Three: Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal, Tobias Harris
The 76ers have been involved in Ben Simmons talks all season, and should they refuse to move the 3-time All-Star this season, he could be finally traded in the offseason. Joel Embiid is having an MVP-caliber season by putting up 29.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 4.4 APG, and 1.4 BPG for Philadelphia this year. If Simmons was on the court, Philly will likely have the number one seed. But things have changed, and they need to move the 26-year-old star.
If Simmons is on the roster by the offseason, he could be packaged with picks for Bradley Beal in a sign-and-trade. Embiid and Beal would form a dynamic duo, somewhat creating a version of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The two stars can dominate inside and outside and will have plenty of help with the likes of the improving Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and Tobias Harris.
Harris specifically is having another solid season, averaging 19.0 PPG and 7.4 RPG as the team’s second option, although he is best suited for being the third option. Giving Harris his preferred role as the third option will do wonders for the team because he is one of the best players in the league at picking his spots. A starting five of Maxey, Beal, Thybulle, Harris, and Embiid competes with the best teams in the league. Of course, there will be plenty of pressure on them (and head coach Doc Rivers) to succeed; but they will be far better off with Beal than they have been with Simmons.
Big Three: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Bradley Beal
Boston should be much better than they currently are because Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are a fantastic duo. The pair can score at an elite level and are improving other areas of their games as well. Tatum is a future superstar, averaging 26.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, and 4.0 APG while continuing his improvement as a go-to scorer in crunch time. With his skillset, Tatum has a chance to be one of the best scorers of all time.
Alongside him is Jaylen Brown, a 25-year-old swingman with plenty of athleticism and scoring ability. The star is putting up 24.4 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 3.0 APG for the Celtics; and should be made untouchable as the team looks to add a third star. In comes Bradley Beal, a perfect shooting guard to complete a dominant offensive Big Three. Tatum, Brown, and Beal will provide plenty of offense on the court as each can create their own offense.
Washington will likely ask for any valuable assets outside of Tatum and Brown, along with the plethora of valuable picks that the Celtics own. For years, the Celtics refused to move first-round picks for a superstar player, and they cannot afford to continue to do so when Beal could be available. There will always be talented offensive players in the league, but Beal is right in his prime averaging 30 PPG per season, making him a seamless fit with Boston’s All-Star duo.
Big Three: Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal, Bam Adebayo
Miami made the Finals two years ago thanks to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, although they were beaten down in the first round last year. With key acquisitions Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker, the Heat are right back in business, especially with Tyler Herro playing like an All-Star. They also have Victor Oladipo waiting to return, forming a very solid lineup that can play defense and score with the best of them. But to grab Bradley Beal, a dynamic scorer who makes Miami instantly better, they will have to sacrifice Herro.
Tyler Herro is only 22 years old and is putting up 20.1 PPG this season. Washington will love to rebuild with Herro in their ranks, although they will have to take on Duncan Robinson’s monster salary as well. The Wizards will also ask for first-round picks, and the Heat will have to answer accordingly. The title window for Miami is wide open because the East is winnable if they can acquire a third All-Star player. A lineup of Lowry, Beal, Butler, Tucker and Adebayo will likely return to the Finals and win it all.
The Heat are all about winning, and they can afford to wait for Beal in the offseason. As long as they keep maximizing Herro’s value, they can convince Beal to sign with them because Miami has always been a free-agent destination. Losing Herro, their best bench player, will hurt. But they can replace him with improving role player Max Struss and also the returning Victor Oladipo, who should be healthy next year. If the Heat want to compete with the best teams in the league and possibly usurp them (Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors), they must create a Big 3 with plenty of All-Star talent.