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NBA insider hints at a minimal return for Washington Wizards in Bradley Beal trade

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is one of the highest-paid NBA players and is being floated in NBA trade rumors once again. However, as Beal and the Wizards contemplate their futures, a potential summer trade might not yield the return Washington is hoping for.

The Wizards signed Beal to a five-year, $251 million contract extension in July 2022. As part of the agreement, Beal’s contract included a no-trade clause and a 15 percent trade kicker. Washington made the deal believing it could win with Beal, competing in the Eastern Conference with its All-Star guard leading the way.

  • Bradley Beal contract: $46.74 million salary (2023-’24), $50.2M salary (2024-’25), $53.66M salary (2025-’26), $57.128 million player option (2026-’27)

Related: NBA teams monitoring potential Bradley Beal trade

One year later, the new-look front office is considering a rebuild. With Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis potentially departing in free agency, Washington has left the door open for Beal to be traded. Even if Beal requests a trade, though, the potential return might not accelerate Washington’s timeline for a turnaround.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN recently provided insight during an appearance on Keyshawn, JWill and Max into the trade market for Beal. While he said several teams will be involved, he believes many will be “very surprised” at how little of a return the Wizards receive for trading Beal.

  • Bradley Beal stats (2022-’23): 23.2 PPG, 5.4 APG, 50.6% FG, 36.5% 3PT, .099 WS.48

Related: 4 ideal Bradley Beal trade scenarios for the Washington Wizards

Entering his age-30 season, Beal has progressively gotten worse and his salary is climbing in the years to come. This past season, he ranked 37th among shooting guards in Total RAPTOR, was one of the worst defenders in the NBA and he ranked 106th in Win Shares per 48 Minutes (.099) last season in Washington.

After averaging 30.9 points per game with a .526 effective field goal percentage from 2020-’21, Beal’s scoring efficiency has also dipped. Across 90 games over the past two seasons, Beal averaged just 23.2 points per game.

Beal’s contract is an even bigger issue, especially in light of the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement. The 15 percent trade kicker would add millions of dollars to his contract and he’ll be earning $50.2 million alone in 2024-’25 before the trade bonus is even accounted for.

While the Wizards might be able to create a small bidding war between a few teams, Beal’s no-trade clause gives him control over the process and his contract limits the number of suitors even further. Because of those factors, Washington’s return in a Beal trade won’t be nearly as much as some are expecting.

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