For the past several months, it’s been a foregone conclusion that Washingon Wizards star Bradley Beal would opt out of his contract and sign the richest deal in NBA history with the team.
With NBA free agency set to get going later this summer, that talk has quieted down some. Multiple teams are said to be interested in Beal, via either a sign and trade or signing him outright in free agency should he opt out.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Portland Trail Blazers are one of those teams. The NBA insider notes that general manager Joe Cronin has targeted Beal and Zach LaVine as options to team up with Damian Lillard in the Pacific Northwest.
If the Blazers were to sign Beal outright, it’d come in at $183.6 million over four seasons. Portland is projected to have roughly $21.67 million in cap room, meaning it would have to pull off some cost-cutting moves to sign Beal outright.
The likelier scenario here is that the team attempts to pull off a sign-and-trade for the star guard should he make it clear to the Wizards that he wants out of dodge.
How a Bradley Beal trade to the Portland Trail Blazers might look
- Blazers get: Bradley Beal,
- Wizards get: Eric Bledsoe, Josh Hart, Keon Johnson, two first-round picks
Bledsoe’s contract would come in handy for Portland in that only $3.9 million of his $19.38 million salary for next season is guaranteed. The Blazers might want to guarantee said deal ahead of the June 29 deadline in order to create the financial capability to pull off a blockbuster trade.
In turn, Washington either buys Bledsoe out or opts to use him as a valuable expiring contract during the in-season NBA trade deadline next February.
It stands to reason that Washington would only help facilitate a sign-and-trade if it got some nice compensation in return. In this scenario, that includes two future first-round picks (Portland’s unprotected 2023 first-rounder and a 2025 first-rounder originally from Milwaukee).
The Wizards also nab a former first-round pick in that of wing Keon Johnson who has flashed upside. He’s only 20 years old and could be an important part of a rebuild in D.C. As for Hart, Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard would likely flip him for more assets.
From Portland’s perspective, the team acquires a true star to team up with Damian Lillard after a disastrous 2021-22 season in Oregon.
- Bradley Beal stats (2019-22): 29.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 5.6 APG, 47% shooting, 34% 3-point
A core three consisting of Beal, Lillard and rising star Anfernee Simons would have Portland as a legit playoff contender. An impending restricted free agent, Simons performed extremely well with Damian Lillard sidelined for a vast majority of last season. The 22-year-old shooting guard averaged 23.4 points and 5.8 assists on 42% shooting from distance in his final 27 games before suffering a knee injury in March.
Portland also finds a way to keep its first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft (No. 7 overall). Rumors insist that said selection could also be on the move for a veteran player. Whether that would remain the case if a hypothetical Bradley Beal trade happens remains to be seen.