Wizards star Bradley Beal appears to be contemplating his future in Washington, and the Boston Celtics have been included among teams who could have mutual interest in the three-time NBA All-Star.
A major reason behind the Celtics reportedly being a “preferred destination” is based on Beal’s close relationship with Jayson Tatum. The two players grew up together and attended the same high school in St. Louis, Mo.
The reality is, though, that while Celtics fans may love (or hate?) the idea of Beal being traded to Boston, it’s a bit far-fetched. It probably won’t happen.
Washington likely will start trade talks with Boston by asking for NBA All-Star Jaylen Brown. And while Brown is among the best trade assets in the league, it’s unlikely the Celtics send him elsewhere, even for someone as talented offensively as Beal. Brown, 24, is under team control for three more seasons and is owed a very reasonable average annual salary of $26.6 million. He signed a four-year, $106 million extension, which started last season.
Beal, 28, is under contract for the 2021-22 campaign before his player option kicks in. He is set to earn $34.5 million for the upcoming season and $37.2 million if he opts in for the 2022-23 season. That’s a pretty considerable financial difference.
Additionally, a major reason behind the Celtics wanting to add Beal is to complement its core of young talent. A trade for Beal involving Brown would feel more like a lateral step than a step forward. Never mind the fact the Celtics recently-hired head coach Ime Udoka talked constantly about Brown being one of Boston’s “pillars” with president of basketball operations Brad Stevens acknowledging priority No. 1 would be getting players who maximize Tatum and Brown.
Ironically, however, Brown may be the only option worth considering if you’re the Wizards.
The Celtics have not been able to develop their draft picks recently, and it hinders what they can do in a trade scenario like this. In a world where Washington was able to rationalize a Brown-less trade return, Boston’s low-cost talent has an even lower trade value. Are the Wizards really lining up to take Carsen Edwards, Grant Williams or even Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford?
The Celtics are handcuffed in what they’re able to do because of it. And while Boston ultimately could (and likely would have to) trade Marcus Smart, Robert Williams or perhaps a sign-and-trade for Evan Fournier, they would have to complement that package with a number of draft picks. It’ll get expensive.
All told, Boston probably can’t compete with the trade packages that others around the league can put together. And they’ll have plenty of competition. The Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers are among those with rumored interest in Beal. Never mind the fact that if Beal is open to re-signing with any of those teams, the Celtics’ chances are even slimmer.
It’s tough to envision the Celtics landing Beal due to the cost required. Boston’s best case scenario to land Beal is for him to play out the 2021 season in Washington and hit free agency next offseason, hopefully with the same desire to play with Tatum.