It’s time for the Washington Wizards‘ ‘Bradley Beal Era’ to come to a merciful end.
Even at their best, they just haven’t been good enough.
It doesn’t matter that they added Kyle Kuzma, averaging 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game in what’s been a career season for him. Nor does it matter that they added former fourth overall pick Kristaps Porzingis, averaging 23.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting a career-high 49.8 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from 3.
At 34-44, only an epic collapse by the Chicago Bulls would even give them a chance at reaching the play-in tournament. Not what one would expect with two players having career seasons, two young forwards in Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert finding their footing, and Beal averaging 23.2 points and 5.4 assists per game on a career-high 50.6 percent shooting from the field.
They’re simply not good enough on offense or defense.
Yet, Kuzma getting ready to approach free agency. Three other rotation players will be on the final season of their contract in 2023-24. Add to this the fact that Beal turns 30-years-old in June and the future looks bleaker than the present.
If it’s not already, the writing should be on the wall.
Beal is the one player the Wizards must trade in the 2023 offseason.
1 player Wizards must trade in 2023 NBA offseason
Beal is undoubtedly one of the best talents in the league. That said, the Wizards need to trade Beal to jump start their impending rebuild.
He has the best trade value on the team, likely leading to a boat load of picks for Washington. In fact, while Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving may be the better talent, the off-court reputation of Beal gives them an even trade value. In fact, one could even argue that Beal has a higher trade value.
Nonetheless, using Irving as a barometer of trade value, the Wizards can safely assume that they would receive at least one first-round pick for Beal.
Depending on the team though, Beal could feasibly net at least two first-round picks.
For example, should a team like the Miami Heat come calling, their desire to be a championship-contender could sway them to move two first-round picks for a player of his caliber. Picks that would increase in value in later years once the Heat — currently led by 33-year-old Jimmy Butler — age themselves out of championship-contention.
Of course, in order to make such a trade work, Washington will have to go through a couple of downtrodden seasons.
Nonetheless, the argument can be made that it’s better for the Wizards to commit to a full rebuild rather than being halfway in and halfway out, as they seem to have been over the past couple of seasons. In fact, the Heat may be the perfect trade partner for the Wizards, as they can trade a couple of expiring contracts in Kyle Lowry and Victor Oladipo for Beal and give Washington about $38 million in cap relief in 2024.
Already projected to have up to $79.4 million in cap space in 2024, they number could balloon to around $117.4 million if they move Beal.
Such a large amount could entice a few players to try to join up together in D.C., much like the famed trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh did with the Heat in 2010.
Looking ahead to the 2024 free agent class, quite a few names stick out:
Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray, who will be 27-years-old
Toronto Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr., who will be 25-years-old
Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, who will be 27-years-old
Sacramento Kings big man Domantas Sabonis, who will be 28-years-old
Depending on the development of their current young core and their future picks, adding two or three of these players could transform the Wizards into a truly formidable opponent.
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