It’s on, ladies and gents. The first blockbuster trade of the off-season has happened. It came just a few days after reports said Washington Wizards star guard Bradley Beal is looking for a new home.
The Wizards could be headed for a rebuild as they were left unloading an elite talent for a 38-year-old Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, second-round picks, and some pick swaps that may likely be left unused. They may trade Paul, though, so there’s a chance they can gather other pieces.
Still, it’s weird that they didn’t even get a single first-round pick return, but that’s the type of thing they signed up for when they agreed to put a No-Trade Clause stipulation on Beal’s contract.
The Miami Heat’s offer was rumoured to be Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and the 18th pick of the 2023 draft, with others also stating that it may have Nikola Jovic and/or Haywood Highsmith, although the exclusion of Tyler Herro could have also played a part. Regardless, either trade would have been a much better deal than what they got.
A three-headed scoring monster
Moving forward, the hype will now revolve around the Phoenix Suns having a trio of high-level scorers, with Bradley Beal joining Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. As one of the best scorers of this generation, those are three guys that can very well average 25-plus points each per game this coming season – maybe more, who knows? It’s an exciting possibility in the offensively inclined era.
The key now, however, is to fill the roster with the right pieces of role players. Beal, Durant, Booker, and possibly DeAndre Ayton (he may still get traded) is a good core, but depth is very much in question, as seen in how they got booted in the 2023 postseason by the eventual champion Denver Nuggets.
Note that there’s no cap flexibility and they may need to convince key players to be rentals and/or scoop up a couple of gems in the draft and undrafted pool.
There’s also a question mark in terms of fit with new head coach Frank Vogel, who’s very defensive-minded, far from Booker and Beal’s games. That potential issue becomes greater when you consider that the championship window isn’t really that wide, and that the trade is a strong ‘win-now’ type of move.
Along with depth, the stars isn’t exactly young overall. Kevin Durant will turn 35 before the season starts while Bradley Beal will be 30 later this month, so it’s not likely to be a long-term kind of trio. Also, who’s to say Durant won’t bail again once things go sideways?
Lastly, as a standard analysis on such a team-up, wherein all three are in need of the ball, it makes you think how much are they willing to sacrifice and how well will each game translate once the changes happen? We shall see. We may see the three combine for 100 points and the rest of the roster go for less than 20.