Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will be the biggest available name on the market this … [+] offseason. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
The 2023 offseason will go down in history books as the Bradley Beal sweepstakes.
Following the Denver Nuggets’ five-game series demolition of the Miami Heat, there are a number of fringe championship contenders — the Heat being one of them — who will be involved in attempting to make a trade for the Washington Wizards guard.
Each team that will show interest in Beal — the Milwaukee Bucks are another team reportedly interested in Beal — are franchises that came up short of winning a title this past season, but are one player away from reaching that destination.
Beal is seen as that missing piece.
Beal — who will turn 30 years old in June — has a massive contract that sees him earn an average annual salary of $50.2 million over the course of his five-year, $251 million contract. He’s also the only player — and just the 10th player in NBA history — to hold a full no-trade clause.
In other words, Beal has full control over where he chooses to play moving forward.
However, that won’t deter a number of potential suitors who are desperate to add Beal as the final piece of the puzzle.
As the Wizards likely look to rebuild — they’ve missed the playoffs four of the past five seasons — they’ll look to trade their franchise player in a market desperate for his talent.
Outside of the Heat and the Bucks, teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers could all emerge as a potential options for Beal. Notice the trend here?
With the exception of the Bucks, all of the aforementioned teams are squads who have consistently come up short of winning a championship in recent years. The Heat have advanced to two NBA Finals, the Celtics have advanced to one Finals appearance and both the Sixers and Clippers have yet to advance to an NBA Finals under their current regimes.
It’s clear that all four of those latter teams have peaked despite featuring star duos and superstar players.
That’s why Beal — who is likely to be dangled as a trade piece due to the Wizards’ likely efforts to rebuild — now emerges as the most coveted player entering the 2023 offseason.
There’s little doubt that Beal is a great scorer when healthy. At his peak, he averaged over 30 points per game in two consecutive seasons during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
However, he’s also dealt with a number of injuries — including a season-ending wrist injury during the 2021-22 season — that have prevented him from playing more than 60 games in a regular season over the past four years. In fact he played just 50 games this past season and 40 games during the 2021-22 season, averaging just 23.2 points per game in each of those campaigns.
While Beal’s recent injury history and dip in scoring may be cause for concern as the best player on a team, it won’t be an issue for all of the aforementioned teams where he’ll play second fiddle to the current stars on those franchises.
The free agency period will certainly feature several big names, including the likes of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Khris Middleton, Fred VanVleet and Draymond Green. With the exception of VanVleet, all of the aforementioned players have likely seen their best days or are likely to re-sign with their current teams.
With the lack of superstar names likely to change teams, this makes the idea of acquiring Beal even more important for a fringe championship contender.
Imagine Beal on the Heat, Bucks or Celtics next season. There’s simply no argument — whoever lands Beal among those three Eastern Conference contenders are the immediate favorites to advance to the NBA Finals.
Imagine Beal landing on a Clippers squad potentially entering it’s last season with the Kawhi Leonard/Paul George nucleus. Beal could be the difference between the Clippers suffering another early playoff exit or potentially pulling out a championship with a new Big Three core.
With free agency likely featuring mostly player turnover at the second tier level — guys like Jordan Clarkson, Harrison Barnes and Kyle Kuzma — the impact of which team acquires Beal is greater than it would be during a normal offseason with plenty of superstar turnover.
As the 2023 NBA Draft nears, the biggest name mentioned will be none other than Beal.
Source link : https://www.forbes.com/sites/djsiddiqi/2023/06/16/washington-wizards-bradley-beal-set-to-enter-2023-nba-offseason-as-most-coveted-player/
Author : DJ Siddiqi
Publish date : 2023-06-16 18:19:32
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