After two lackluster exhibition performances, the interest level in Team USA seems to be relatively low. But for Sixers fans, they may be locked in as they “scout” Damian Lillard. But for most of us, we have turned our attention to the NBA Draft. Now just days away in what will be a rapid fire offseason, teams are going to almost be making decisions on the fly. And current players, some of whom are disgruntled, need to decide their fate before July 29th. One of those players, Wizards guard Bradley Beal:
Word has spread across front offices around the NBA: Bradley Beal is weighing whether to request a trade from the Washington Wizards.
“He knows he has to make a decision before the draft,” said one source with knowledge of Beal’s thinking. More @BR_NBA: https://t.co/M1vhNx0ZRn
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) July 24, 2021
“Beal does not have a proverbial list of preferred destinations, but it was mentioned by multiple sources that he would welcome joining teams such as Boston, Golden State, Miami or Philadelphia—although Beal requesting a trade would all but guarantee an expansive bidding war across the league.”
The Sixers willingness to enter a bidding war for Beal would be a no-brianer. The former Florida standout averaged 30.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in the Wizards playoffs series against the Sixers a few months prior. He almost single handedly kept a flawed Washington roster afloat over 5 games against Philadelphia. Beal has been the thorn in the side of the Sixers for quite some time. Early in the 2020-21 NBA season, before the addition of fans, Beal hung 60 points on the Sixers in the Wells Fargo Center. It was once again a loss for the Wizards.
Therein lies the problem for the dynamic between Beal and the Wizards. Despite epic scoring performances, there are no results to show for it. The Wizards have made it out of the first round of the playoffs once in the past 5 years. This season, it took a play-in tournament for them to make the playoffs in general. Bradley Beal is now 28 years old, in the heart of his prime, with four years left on his contract. And no relative team success to show for it.
For the Sixers, a player of Beal’s skillset has been the missing black hole on offense late in games for years. The Ben Simmons offensive conundrum once again reared its ugly head in the conference semi-finals, this time against a inferior Hawks team. The goal for Daryl Morey is clear: pair Joel Embiid with a dynamic scorer on the perimeter. It would likely take parting with some of the fan favorites (Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle) to do so, but the Sixers find themselves hitting the same wall. They are the contestant in American Ninja Warrior who gets to the end of the course, and can’t run up the ramp wall and finish.
The NBA Draft is this Thursday. It will be interesting. And not just to see if the Pistons take Cade Cunningham. Because by the end of the night, some of the premier stars in the league could be dawning new colors next season.