How could Celtics acquire Bradley Beal? Ex-NBA GM lays out path originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Boston Celtics came within two wins of an NBA championship, but because they fell just short, there will be plenty of offseason discussion about how they can get over the hump.
Should Bradley Beal be mentioned in that discussion?
The Washington Wizards star has been a rumored Celtics target for several years, in part due to his very close relationship with childhood friend Jayson Tatum. Beal can become a free agent this offseason if he declines his $36.4 million player option, and as former Phoenix Suns general manager and ex-Celtics executive Ryan McDonough explained Monday, the best financial move for Beal is to decline that player option and sign a new deal with the Wizards.
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“Bradley Beal makes $64 more million if he opts out of his contract and then re-signs in Washington,” McDonough said on NBC Sports Boston’s Early Edition, as seen in the video above. “He can do a five-year extension with the Wizards. That’s the only team in the league he can sign for that length with.”
Beal said recently he has already made up his mind about his playing future but declined to reveal his decision. Since players technically can’t negotiate with other teams until free agency begins on June 30, that likely means Beal has decided to re-up with Washington.
Even if Beal opts out and becomes a free agent, Boston’s best path to acquire Beal would be via a sign-and-trade, since taking on his $36.4 million salary for 2022-23 would force the C’s to part with several core players.
“If Beal wanted to force his way to Boston and the Wizards were willing to cooperate, a sign-and-trade is the clear path,” McDonough noted. “Other than that, Boston would have to gut its entire roster other than Tatum and maybe (Jaylen) Brown.”
What might a sign-and-trade deal for Beal look like?
“Al Horford’s contract would probably be in there — $26.5 million on an expiring deal,” McDonough added. “And then what does Washington want? Do they want Robert Williams, Grant Williams, draft picks? Those are Boston’s most valuable assets outside of Tatum and Brown.”
The possibility of a Tatum-Brown-Beal trio is very enticing. Beal led the Eastern Conference in scoring two seasons ago (31.3 points per game) and would give the Celtics three high-level scorers.
But the Wizards could demand either Brown or Marcus Smart in a return package for their franchise player, who turns 29 later this month and underwent season-ending wrist surgery in February. That might be too steep a price for Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens, who has a talented young core that just lifted the team to its first NBA Finals berth since 2010.
Beal might make sense for the C’s at some point, but McDonough doesn’t see the three-time All-Star coming to Boston anytime soon.
“I think the Celtics could acquire Beal, but I think the way that would happen would be a trade either at the trade deadline or next offseason,” McDonough said. “I think it’s very unlikely that Beal ends up in a Celtics uniform to start this season.”