Nick Wass/Associated Press
Beal may be the one player available before the March 25 trade deadline who could make a meaningful impact on the league’s balance of power if he goes to a high-end contender.
The two-time All-Star leads the NBA in scoring at 32.8 points per game to go along with averages of 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.5 threes and 1.3 steals across 21 appearances in 2020-21.
Washington has yet to publicly signal the 27-year-old University of Florida product is available for trade, and the sharpshooter hasn’t requested one. But he said recently that losing takes a toll.
“It’s tough. I’m not gonna sit here and be naive. It’s tough,” Beal told reporters. “We wanna win. I wanna win. This is why I stayed. I wanna win [here]. I figure this is the place I can get it done. So, it’s tough.”
The Wizards are 14th in the 15-team Eastern Conference with a 6-16 record.
Beal is under contract for at least one more season after signing a two-year, $71.8 million extension that includes a player option for the 2022-23 campaign, so there’s no sense of urgency if Washington wants to keep him for the time being.
If the front office does decide to seriously consider offers, it has every reason to play hardball, so the demand of a package headlined by three first-rounders makes sense on the surface.
Beal probably wouldn’t maintain his current scoring space if dealt to a contender, but he could be the missing piece as teams attempt to keep pace with the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers, star-studded Brooklyn Nets and the other top title hopefuls.