Bradley Beal

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Beal reportedly available via trade, should Sixers call?

Andrew Porter
November 19, 2018 - 11:33 am
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On November 1st, I wrote at length on why Bradley Beal should be a high priority target for Elton Brand at the Philadelphia 76ers

That was 12 days prior to the team acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves for Robert Covington and Dario Saric. 

Related: Sixers have favorable 7-game stretch before at TOR​

But even with Butler, the idea of Beal makes plenty of sense for Philadelphia, and according to Woj, the 5-11 Wizards are ready to talk shop for pretty much anyone. 

Beal would be an instant upgrade of Markelle Fultz, who admittedly may have a higher ceiling that Beal—although that idea is becoming far-fetched. Conversely, Fultz's floor has become scary.

Beal is an elite, explosive, three-level scorer that would slide in perfectly alongside Ben Simmons right now, someone who can score in iso, catch-and-shoot, and create in the pick-and-roll. Basically, Beal is who the Sixers thought Fultz would be when they drafted him. 

 

Fit

Iso: Beal had an iso frequency rate of 12.9% last season, which was 25th in the NBA. The Sixers were one of the worst iso teams in the NBA last season and their iso frequency rate leader was Ben Simmons at 9.0%, 52nd in the NBA. Obviously, Butler helps them in this department, but Beal would add to that. 

Pick-and-roll: Beal was among the leaders in pick-and-roll ball handling, something he did for 6.2 possessions per game, 31st in the NBA. 

Off screen: Beal was 20th in the NBA (among players who played at least 50 games) in off screen frequency at 15.6%. JJ Redick was 18th at 17.3%, but no other Sixer was in the top 50 last season. 

Catch-and-shoot: Beal shot 43.0% on 3.9 catch-and-shoot threes per game, among the NBA leaders. JJ Redick, for comparison sake, shot 45.6% on 4.3 attempts in 2017-18. Covington led the NBA in 6.3 catch-and-shoot threes per game last season, shooting 37.9%, and Dario Saric shot an incredible 40.6% on 5.0 catch-and-shoot threes per game. So, the Sixers should be looking to replace some of that catch-and-shoot ability. 

 

Contract

Beal is currently in year three of his five-year deal worth $127,171,313. The 25-year-old is making $25.4M this season, $27M next season, and $28.75M in 2020-21. The fact that Beal is under contract for this season plus two more is incredibly attractive. And naturally, that makes him very expensive. 

For context, Beal's average annual salary of $25,434,263 is tied with Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond for just 23rd highest in the NBA.

 

Cost

With Covington and Saric gone, Philadelphia does not have as many trading chips anymore. In terms of players, guys like Landry Shamet, Zhaire Smith, Markelle Fultz (maybe?), and possibly Furkan Korkmaz as a high-upside flier could attract Washington.

JJ Redick, by the way, has a no-trade blocker. Wilson Chandler is on an expiring contract ($12.8M), so he can certainly be used in a trade, and would probably have to be for financial reasons. 

If the Wizards were to trade Beal, they'd would be undergoing some sort of a rebuild and would likely want draft picks in return. The Sixers' own first-round picks project to be backend picks for the foreseeable future, as they should be contenders in the East. Philly also owns Miami's unprotected 2021 first-round pick, which could be a nice trade chip here. 

So maybe something like two of Shamet, Smith, Fultz, or Korkmaz + PHI's 2019 first + MIA's 2021 first + Chandler gets Washington thinking? 

 

Future

Seemingly all-in following the Butler acquisition, the idea of a Simmons-Beal-Butler-Embiid-and-whoever (Redick/Chandler?) lineup has to entice Brand and the Sixers. The final part of the equation, if Beal actually became a reality, would be for the front office to figure out how they could afford Embiid, Simmons, Butler, and Beal. 

Embiid makes $27.5M in 2019-20, $29.5M in 2020-21, $31.5M in 2021-22, $33.6M in 2022-23. 

Beal makes $27M in 2019-20, $28.75M in 2020-21

Simmons is extension eligible this summer and will get a max contract (Brand basically said as much on Zach Lowe's podcast before the season). 

Butler has a player-option to become an unrestricted free-agent after the season. 

The 2019-20 NBA salary cap will reportedly be around $109 million. So, theoretically, they could squeeze the big four in under that number, but it's going to take some number crunching for sure.