The rumor James Harden would decline his player option to allow the 76ers to open max cap space for a third star to join him and Joel Embiid…
How about Wizards star Bradley Beal, who can become a free agent this offseason?
Beal said he’s leaning toward re-signing with Washington.
But former NBA player Andrew Bogut says otherwise.
Bogut on his “Rogue Bogues” podcast:
I’ve heard a pretty big rumor … from some people that are pretty close to the situation in the NBA: Big three to Philly. Brad Beal is trying to get to Philadelphia in the offseason to team up with Harden and Embiid.
Philly’s desperate, obviously, to try to get off Harris, anyway. They have been for a while. And I think they’re even more desperate now to free up that cap space somehow. It will most likely have to be a sign-and-trade with Philly. But don’t be surprised if a big three forms in Philly. That’s the word on the street.
A sign-and-trade using Tobias Harris could work financially. Beal opting in for a trade for Harris would work even better for the 76ers, as that – unlike a sign-and-trade – wouldn’t hard cap Philadelphia.
But how would the 76ers entice the Wizards to participate?
Especially if dealing Beal, Washington probably wouldn’t want Harris, who’ll turn 30 this summer and is due $76,903,200 the next two seasons. Philadelphia is short on additional assets after trading two first-round picks and Ben Simmons in the Harden deal. The 76ers might have to include Tyrese Maxey and/or Matisse Thybulle.
However, Philadelphia can gain leverage by convincing the Wizards that Beal could leave directly into cap space – either the 76ers’ own (with Harden opting out and taking a big discount) or another team’s. If convinced Beal will leave anyway, Washington would be less demanding in its return in a sign-and-trade.
There’s no doubt 76ers president Daryl Morey will pursue stars like Beal. The wing would fit nicely between Harden and Embiid. More importantly, Beal would upgrade Philadelphia’s talent level.
Bogut certainly has connections throughout the NBA. He might have come across a genuine plan. But I’m less certain of his ability to vet the rumor’s veracity – especially with the incentive of drawing interest to his podcast.