Bradley Beal is one of the most talented shooting guards in the game right now because he is an offensive machine that is very capable of averaging at least 30 PPG in a season. Starting off as a spot-up shooter that benefitted from John Wall’s playmaking in Washington, Beal has worked on his game to add a greatly improved ability to create his own shot and also lead the offense with his playmaking.
The 3-time All-Star has certainly made a name for himself in the NBA in the past few years and will be a free agent this summer. His 2-year extension with the Wizards has ended, and there has been a ton of discussion on where the All-Star should end up. Possibly, Bradley Beal might not want to carry a subpar franchise on his back anymore and could be looking elsewhere, although he has stated on multiple occasions that he is happy in D.C. After all, the team added former All-Star Kristaps Porzingis during the season.
But Wizards fans are still holding their breath because losing Beal would ultimately kill their chances of being a playoff team in the near future. He has to make a decision. Does he want to sign a 5-year, $241.6 million contract with the Wizards, or to sign with some contender and chase the championship in the future?
While we won’t know for sure if Beal is in it for the long term, Beal will look at the free agency with the intention of finding the best possible place for him to find success on the court. As he approaches 29 years of age, here are the top-5 destinations for the 3-time All-Star shooting guard this summer, with four of them able to offer sign-and-trade deals.
5. New York Knicks
Trade Package: Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2026 First-Round Pick, 2027 First-Round Pick For Bradley Beal
After New York suffered all season long with poor play and the inconsistency of Julius Randle and company, many NBA fans feel that the Knicks should blow it up. But instead of taking severe action due to a poor season, perhaps making changes and giving Randle an All-Star perimeter player could be the key. The answer could come in the form of 3-time All-Star Bradley Beal.
Beal can be the key for the Knicks returning into the playoffs because he can create his own offense and carry the ball up the court. A duo of Beal and Randle would almost certainly be enough for the Knicks to be competitive in the East again because a little-big man duo that can score has historically been a great thing. Most importantly, New York needs to find a consistent scorer that can actually average over 25 PPG with ease.
New York is onto something with a core of Randle, RJ Barrett, and even Cam Redish, but they need to complete the lineup with a legitimate All-Star. The Knicks have not had a go-to scorer who can average at least 25 PPG since Carmelo Anthony, and the NBA is a better place when New York has an offensive star that can take over games. For Washington, they might have to accept a rebuild package that includes a hefty three first-round picks and a young big in Obi Toppin.
4. Denver Nuggets
Trade Package: Michael Porter, Will Barton, Monte Morris, 2022 First-Round Pick, 2028 First-Round Pick For Bradley Beal
Superstar Nikola Jokic has just won his second-straight MVP award, yet Denver has been unable to return to the Western Conference Finals as they did in 2020. Of course, the injuries to Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr have been the biggest reasons for that, because Denver is operating as somewhat of a one-man show. Jokic is a special talent, and at only age 27, there is still plenty of time for him to carry the Nuggets to the promised land. He just needs an extra boost by his side.
In fact, the answer to Denver’s prayers for a championship could be Bradley Beal, a talented scorer who can not only space the floor but create his own offense alongside Jokic and Jamal Murray. Even though Beal is a score-first guard with exceptional handles and scoring ability, he is not considered a selfish player and will be willing to feed Jokic and share the ball with Murray. Beal is getting closer to 29 years old, which means the Nuggets are also in for the long-term with a deal.
Losing Michael Porter Jr won’t hurt that much as the young man could be an injury-prone player for the rest of his career. The talented young player could be a loss worth taking for Denver, while role players Will Barton and Monte Morris have been excellent servants. Adding in two first-round picks, Denver could be looking to stack the deck in their favor by creating a very dominant offensive Big Three in the West.
3. Miami Heat
Trade Package: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, 2023 First-Round Pick For Bradley Beal
Do the Miami Heat need to make changes? They finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season and are currently locked in battle with a talented Philadelphia 76ers side led by Joel Embiid and James Harden. Miami might also be in the mix to return to the NBA Finals if they get past Philadelphia, two years after making it into the 2020 Bubble. But knowing Miami, they will not rest on their laurels.
Acquiring Bradley Beal would take Miami’s offense to a different level because at this moment in time, he is a better all-around player than Tyler Herro. Herro has been exceptional all year, winning Sixth Man of the Year and competing as arguably the third-most important player behind Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. But Herro’s production could come as a result of him wanting a max contract, and we have historically seen a player settle down after signing it. Instead of taking that risk, the Heat could package Herro with two role players and a pick for a bona fide All-Star.
Miami will know what they will get with Bradley Beal because he has averaged over 30 PPG twice in the last three years. His partnership with Jimmy Butler will also be dominant in the East because they complement each other on both ends of the floor. Bradley also creates one of the best trios in the NBA in the East, and Miami could lock in a top-3 seed in the conference for at least the next three seasons. Going after Beal could be determined if Miami can reach the NBA Finals as constructed this year.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
Trade Package: Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen, 2024 First-Round Pick, 2025 First-Round Pick For Bradley Beal
Outside of re-signing with Washington and trying to build a name for himself as one of the greatest Wizards players ever, Bradley Beal would fit in perfectly with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavaliers are an up-and-coming team because of the energy they play with and the budding potential they have shown from guys like Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Caris LeVert, and Isaak Okoro among others. If Cleveland is willing to move on from Collin Sexton and All-Star Jarrett Allen in a sign and trade, they could bring on another offensive power in Beal.
A lineup with Garland, Beal, and Mobley would be difficult to defend against while the Cavaliers start focusing on the development of Evan Mobley over Jarrett Allen. Cleveland missed the playoffs this year, and they were sorely missing a go-to scorer in his prime that has been in the trenches before. Beal found himself in the playoffs multiple times in Washington in the East and has some playoff experience under his belt. By arriving in Cleveland, he can be the man on the team while being surrounded by young guys who want to compete.
If Beal can do what he does best, score the ball at an elite level, he can help develop two other potential superstar players and some other exciting talent on a team that wants to climb the rankings. Beal can space the floor almost as well as Cleveland’s shooters, and his willingness to be unselfish is another major reason why he will benefit greatly from leading and playing with the Cavaliers’ stars. From the Wizards’ point of view, they are getting two rebuilding pieces under the age of 25 and a solid collection of picks.
1. Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards fans will be hoping and praying that their franchise player remains with the team. Even if the squad struggled mightily this season with and without Beal, they cannot afford to lose another franchise player after John Wall went down with injuries and was later shipped for a one-year rental of Russell Westbrook. Without Beal playing at the All-Star level he has shown over the past few years, the Wizards do not have a shot at climbing the East.
Beal has made the three All-Star Teams with the Wizards over the last five years and the franchise gave him his first true chance to become a perennial All-Star in the league. He has put up over 25 PPG three times in his career, and he had a career-high 31.3 PPG last season on 48.5% from the field and 34.9% from three. It is expected that Beal continues putting up similar numbers going forward.
Unlike the bulk of today’s stars in the NBA, Bradley Beal might be willing to sign a long-term deal with the Wizards this offseason and return to the team that took him No. 3 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. If Beal stays, the Wizards can continue building the squad by making everyone expendable. Kristaps Porzingis could be an interesting signing if the big man can return to All-Star form, but as long as they have Beal, they could make things interesting in the Eastern Conference.