Heading into the season, NBA rumors centered on Houston Rockets star James Harden and the former MVP’s potential trade. With Harden seemingly staying in Houston, NBA teams are now turning their attention to All-Star guard Bradley Beal for a blockbuster trade.
Beal, one of the NBA’s most dangerous scoring threats, is playing better than ever this season. Unfortunately, with the Washington Wizards sitting at the bottom of the NBA standings (2-8), his stellar play is being wasted once again.
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With Washington seemingly destined to finish with one of the league’s worst records and the Rockets not lowering their asking price on Harden, Bradley Beal could be emerging as the star to watch leading into the NBA trade deadline.
NBA rumors: Contenders shifting focus to Bradley Beal trade
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, NBA teams are increasingly shifting their eye on the trade market towards Bradley Beal. Many believe a James Harden trade may not happen this season, leading to clubs exploring for the next big star who could significantly impact the NBA Playoffs.
The Wizards made it clear this offseason that there are no plans to trade Beal. The 27-year-old has also expressed a desire to remain with Washington, hopeful that things could turn around. While he would love to spend his entire career with the Wizards, though, it’s evident that there aren’t nearly enough pieces for this team to be a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference.
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Entering Monday’s action, Beal leads the NBA in scoring with 35 points per game. He is shooting a career-best 48.9% from the field and 38.6% from beyond the mark, his best since 2016.
Beal could also be more appealing for NBA teams seeking to land another star player to bolster their lineup. He is four years younger than Harden, doesn’t carry concerns regarding his off-court behavior and likely wouldn’t face questions over his cultural fit with any club.
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Even more importantly, Beal has proven he can play well alongside a star. Any team acquiring Harden would need to run its offense through him, which could cause early disruption as the team tries to make adjustments. Beal is reportedly viewed as a more natural fit for teams.
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Specifically, teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets are drawing mention as potential landing spots for Beal. The 76ers have made Ben Simmons available for the right star in return, and he is the kind of young player Washington could build around. Meanwhile, Beal would provide Philadelphia with the scoring presence it covets around Joel Embiid.
As of now, the Wizards aren’t making Beal available for trade. But Beal is becoming more frustrated in Washington, with the losses and atrocious team play leading to increased speculation that he could push for his way out. If that happens, expect the 27-year-old to be at the center of NBA rumors as the season goes on and he could be the lone star moved before the NBA trade deadline.