The Washington Wizards are looking to move on from Bradley Beal and what’s left of his five year, $251M contract this offseason. And it appears the Suns are potential suitors.
Mind blown? Welcome to the Mat Ishbia Era, I guess, where the unbelievable is reality.
Shams Charania of The Athletic let the world know on Saturday morning that this might be something that actually could happen. The Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat are potential finalists to acquire Beal, who has four years and $207.7M left on his deal, which includes the player option in 2026-27 for $57.1M. I’m assuming he will opt into that.
Developing: Washington is in serious talks with two finalists – Miami and Phoenix – on a Bradley Beal trade, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The Suns have emerged as a serious threat for Beal, who holds a no-trade clause.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 17, 2023
Um, what? Ex-squeeze-me?
Beal’s teammate Kyle Kuzma has been mentioned in Suns’ circles as of late, but Beal? On the most recent episode of the Suns JAM Session, I proposed an Ayton/Shamet trade for Beal simply to talk about Beal, but there was no merit behind it. I didn’t think it would be actually explored.
But here we are. Let’s start with the money, shall we?
I know that Mat Ishbia doesn’t believe that money is really an object, but given the new restrictions with the collective bargaining agreement, rostering Kevin Durant, Devin, Booker, and Bradley Beal is borderline irresponsible. Just those three players, of which the soon-to-be 30 year-old Beal would be paid the highest, would combine for $130.3M. The projected salary cap is $134M.
The roster would be so top-heavy, practically no depth could occur.
Phoenix would have to rely on veteran minimum deals to fill out the majority of the roster. Ask Dave King about specifics — he’s the cap expert on the site. They would be banking on the fact that players would flock to Phoenix in an effort to play with the DBD Trio. It’s a gamble that the Suns could win, as it would be an appealing destination for free agents.
Given the 6’4” Beal is what some would classify as the, “poor man’s Booker”, his addition would likely usher in a new era in which Point Booker is the rule rather than the exception.
We just witnessed it with the Denver Nuggets as they won their championship as Jamal Murray. You could classify Murray as a shooting guard – he’s played the two-guard 28% of his career – but he played point and led his team to a title. Granted, Murray is much more of an efficient playmaker than Devin Booker.
Beal’s health is an issue. That last time he played over 55 games in a season? Ayton’s rookie season in 2018-19. He has had numerous lower-leg injuries, ranging from hamstring issues to knee issues, and his durability is definitely in question.
If Phoenix were to execute this deal, there are a couple of ways they can make it happen. What would Washington want? The primary reason to trade Beal is to get off of his contract. It’s a biggin’. Therefore, they could be in the market to acquire someone like Chris Paul, as his contract is not guaranteed in 2024-25.
Perhaps sending Paul and Shamet to Washington is plausible.
Washington surely would want more than that, right? Getting off the Beal contract is priority number one, but they’d want some return for their asset.
Listen, I'm just saying, if Kuzma opted into his player option you could trade Ayton and Paul for Kuzma and Beal.— Mike Vigil (@protectedpick) June 17, 2023
I’m torn on this. I do like Bradley Beal as a scorer. Two seasons ago he averaged 31.3 points-per-game. But his scoring has dipped. He’s 34% from three-point range in his last three seasons. He’s not what he used to be, and that price tag? It’s like mayonnaise. It’s gross.
If Phoenix could execute this and get Kuzma as a part of the deal, I have different thoughts. A Booker-Beal-Durant-Kuzma quartet would have me singing showtimes in the asphalt summer streets of Phoenix.
As stated above, I think it’s irresponsible to build your roster this way. Is this the Mat Ishbia effect? Or is this going to make sense for the Suns?
Bradley Beal controls his own destiny. His contract include a no trade clause, so he’ll have the ultimate say. That being said, Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein is the father of Suns’ CEO Josh Bartelstein. Happy Father’s Day.