Hello, allow me to introduce myself. I am an NBA executive and my trigger finger is itching to make a splashy acquisition. I’m talking about a James Harden-to-Brooklyn type of splash. I want to flip the Vegas sports books and dominate the airwaves. Although the available market is slim-pickings for an impact player at this moment, my office is preparing a blockbuster trade package that cannot be refused.
My franchise intends to land Bradley Beal.
Chatter around the league indicates Beal is not available. This appears to be dogmatic for his club. Wizards General Manager Tommy Sheppard has said as much for about two years.
Well, I was not born yesterday.
Sheppard told the media he had no intentions of trading John Wall. Shortly thereafter, he shipped the ten-year veteran to the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook. Be wary of what an executive tells the press. Front office communications are smoke and mirrors. Take it from me.
Prior to the season, Beal implored the front office to build a more competitive roster than last year’s 25-47 squad. So far, it appears the Sheppard has let down his All-Star guard.
The Wizards are 3-8 and on the brink of disaster. Russell Westbrook has looked like a shell of his former self. Thomas Bryant is out for the season with a torn ACL. Davis Bertans is posting the worst PER and True Shooting Percentage of his career, after resigning big for five-years, $80 million. Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija show flashes, but they are young, and appear to still be a couple years away from their potential.
I have been in this league long enough to be able to forecast increasing disgruntlement. A Beal trade is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’, and my organization intends to win these inevitable sweepstakes.
What Does an All-Star Trade Offer Look Like?
Bradley Beal is among the best guards in the NBA at shifting gears within close quarters. He’s like a cat attacking the paint, truly allowing the game to come to him (1/3) pic.twitter.com/85FWKgUXZk— Ed (@KyleEdwords) January 15, 2021
The current trade market suggests an in-his-prime All-Star draws a pretty penny. Here are five of the most splashy trades from the last two years.
- James Harden traded from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets.
- Jrue Holiday traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks.
- Westbrook traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets.
- Paul George traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Los Angeles Clippers.
- Anthony Davis traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Teams who traded their All-Star typically receive:
- About three first round draft picks.
- About two opportunities to swap draft picks.
- Some combination of salary filler or young assets. Typically, the salary filler includes players who play the same position as the outbound All-Star, are similar in age, and perceived as lesser talents. For instance: Eric Bledsoe in the Holiday trade, Chris Paul in the Westbrook trade, and Victor Oladipo in the Harden trade.
- Interestingly, eight of the 11 players acquired in these transactions were former lottery picks. They include Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (eleventh-pick 2018), Danilo Gallinari (sixth-pick 2008), Lonzo Ball (second-pick 2017), Brandon Ingram (second-pick 2016), Dante Exum (fifth-pick 2014), Oladipo (second-pick 2013), Steven Adams (twelfth-pick 2013) , and Paul (fourth-pick, 2005).
The trade package formula to acquire an All-Star talent likely entails three future first round picks, two pick swaps, a young asset, and an established player with matching salary.
When Does Washington Pull the Trigger?
In a figurative sense, the aforementioned formula is my harpoon, and Beal is the white whale.
However, when does he hit the open market? Is head coach Scott Brooks, who is on the final year of his contract, first to go? On the other hand, if Washington turns their season around, this could all seem like pointless fodder.
That seems unlikely. If Sheppard elects to pursue a trade, his return haul could ensure a healthy rebuild in the present, with a number of shots to select a player of Beal’s caliber through the draft. Whatever the next generation of Wizards basketball resembles, they could potentially set themselves up for success.
That being said, players of Beal’s caliber are rare. Any trade needs to account for his abilities. Otherwise, Washington could be left, like Captain Ahab, without a leg to stand on.