Years of speculation about Bradley Beal's future in Washington when the Wizards agreed to trade the three-time All-Star to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, multiple second-round picks and multiple pick swaps. Beal will waive his no-trade clause to facilitate the deal, which may take a few days to complete.
While some of the specifics are still unclear, the framework is in place and Beal will be heading west to team up with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. The Wizards, meanwhile, have officially started a long-awaited rebuild. Let's grade the trade.
The Suns made what appeared to be their all-in move at the deadline last season when they acquired Durant, but managed to take advantage of the cut-rate price for Beal to add yet another All-Star to the roster. In terms of pure talent, there's no question the Suns got better on Sunday.
Beal has struggled a bit the past two seasons, both with injuries and inconsistent play, but he's just a few years removed from averaging 31.3 points, he scores at all three levels and has grown into a solid playmaker. He'll give the Suns yet another perimeter threat who can feast on open shots and will make life easier for Durant and Booker. All they had to give up was an aging Paul and a little-used role player in Shamet, along with some second-round picks.
Even if you have some questions about Beal's ability to move the needle, adding him for this price is a no-brainer; in a vacuum, they crushed this trade. The potential cause for concern in Phoenix is some of the ancillary aspects of the deal -- namely their lack of depth and salary cap limitations.
As of now, the Suns have five players signed for next season: Durant, Booker, Beal, Ayton and Cameron Payne. They will be paying that quintet just under $170M, which puts them well over the salary cap and luxury tax. With their core four all locked into long-term deals, they will be a tax-paying team for years to come just as the new collective bargaining agreement -- which starts this season -- will make that status more prohibitive than ever.
The Suns will be severely limited as they look to fill out the rest of their roster or potentially make trades in the future, and new owner Mat Ishbia will have to pay significant tax penalties. All of that is worth it if you win a title, of course, but whether Beal is enough to get them over that hump remains to be seen. The offense is going to be awesome, but defense and depth remain concerns.
Whatever happens, you certainly can't accuse the Suns of not trying.
- Chris Paul
- Landry Shamet
- Multiple second-round picks
- Multiple pick-swaps
Beal had a no-trade clause and one of the worst contracts in the league, but even so, this is a shocking return for the Wizards, who essentially just salary dumped a 29-year-old three-time All-Star. Even if they're able to re-route Paul to a third team and add some extra assets this is brutal. They couldn't even get a draft pick worth getting excited about! The biggest takeaway from this deal is just how many mistakes the Wizards have made in recent years, specifically in regards to Beal. Not only did they cling on to him in the hopes of maintaining some semblance of relevance -- for which they were rewarded with one playoff appearance -- they gave him a max extension and threw in a no-trade clause for some reason. Now, they were forced to give him away for nothing and will start a rebuild the year after a generational prospect enters the league.
There's really not much else to say here. Washington has needed a reset for a while, but this is not the way that anyone would have hoped for it to begin. This has to be an extremely frustrating day for Wizards fans, and probably many in the new front office as well.