Rumor: Bradley Beal considering trade request, situation ‘fluid’

Wizards star Bradley Beal vs. Knicks
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While people have been in his ear urging him to bolt, Bradley Beal has remained loyal to Washington and the Wizards, trying to win there. He felt vindicated having not forced his way out of town at last February’s trade deadline as the Wizards made a run to the playoffs.

But is he on the verge of changing his mind? Maybe.

Beal is considering making a trade request, reports Jake Fisher at Bleacher Report.

With the 2021 NBA draft fast approaching, word has reached front offices around the league that Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is considering requesting a trade prior to Thursday night’s event.

“He knows he has to make a decision before the draft,” one source with direct knowledge of Beal’s thinking told Bleacher Report. For the past year, people familiar with Beal’s dedicated relationship to the Wizards have consistently rebuffed the notion he had interest in playing elsewhere. Yet a second source close to Beal, when contacted by B/R, confirmed the situation is now fluid…

And if Beal were to seek a new team, he would do so only to land in an established winning environment, sources said.

Let’s pump the breaks on this.

I’m skeptical this happens. Beal has consistently said he wants to win in Washington publicly and privately. Until there is better confirmed reporting than “other teams think the situation may have changed,” then this may be more wishful thinking from other teams (and some around Beal) than reality. From ownership down, the mantra in Washington has been to be a playoff team, not to rebuild, and the Wizards will not trade Beal until their hand is forced.

That said, if he were to ask out, now would be the best time (for him and the Wizards).

Beal may be vacillating as he reaches another decision point; we all can go back-and-forth on big decisions (if the Wizards are open to trading Russell Westbrook it could impact Beal’s thinking). And it would be smart to make a call before the draft next Thursday, although that is still a very tight window to get a deal done. Most trades build up over a long series of conversations before being consummated. This would be a “2 a.m. and the bar is closing” rushed pickup to get a deal done by next Thursday. The Wizards only get one swing at this, they will want a Harden-level return with multiple players, picks, and pick-swaps, and they should not be rushed into a trade.

If Beal wants to go to an established, winning team, that limits his options. Golden State could get in the picture (two lottery picks this year, James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins to balance the salaries), as could Miami (a trade package centered around Tyler Herro and picks), Philadelphia (Ben Simmons centered package), Boston, maybe New York, and that’s not getting into Dallas and both Los Angeles teams trying to find a deal that works (neither Los Angeles team controls enough picks to likely make a trade offer that works for Washington).

All of this is to say, Beal probably is still a Washington Wizard after the draft.

But even a move to “fluid” would be a change from where we have been with Beal.