Over the last week, Wizards All-NBA guard Bradley Beal undoubtedly dominated the rumor mill surrounding the NBA community, with many anticipating his eventual departure from Washington.
Following reports by Bleacher Report’s Jason Dumas and Jake L. Fischer about Bradley Beal potentially requesting a trade out of Washington, fans around the league quickly realized the Celtics are believed to be one of Beal’s preferred destinations.
In all aspects, likely due to the relationship Bradley Beal owns with Jayson Tatum.
Although people around Boston have held discussions about Bradley Beal dating back to 2020, the Celtics seemingly may be heading into a territory in which a golden opportunity to truly secure their future presents itself.
How the Celtics can maneuver what appears to be a perfect window to acquire Bradley Beal will ultimately come down to a godfather offer and not hestitating to act upon a deal now.
The Celtics will not trade Jaylen Brown for Bradley Beal
If Bradley Beal does in fact request a trade to play with Jayson Tatum in Boston in the coming week, the Celtics undoubtedly own enough assets to pull off a potential deal with the Wizards — without giving up Jaylen Brown.
Although many fans around the NBA and Celtics community claim the Celtics will have to move Jaylen Brown in order to acquire Bradley Beal, the whole point of the Celtics trading for Bradley Beal would be to pair him with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to create a high powered big 3 that is capable of competing with the inevitable favorites in 2022, the Brooklyn Nets.
For Boston, trading Jaylen Brown for Bradley Beal is a lateral move that the Celtics shouldn’t even entertain.
Standing at the age of only 24, Jaylen Brown’s game is still ascending on both ends of the floor.
Not to mention, with Jaylen on the books, the Celtics are paying a 24 year old, max player less than max money for the next three seasons.
To say Bradley Beal for Jaylen Brown would be a lateral move may be an understatement. If the Celtics moved Jaylen Brown for Bradley Beal, Boston would likely ask for more from the Wizards. In spite of what anyone thinks or says, the Celtics are not trading Jaylen Brown for Bradley Beal — or any other star for that matter.
Jaylen Brown will be in Boston for the long haul.
The Package For Bradley Beal
Luckily for the Celtics, with a little communication from Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal, their path to securing a big 3 that includes Jaylen Brown will unfold, if the Celtics are willing to depart with what some fans may considered “coveted assets.”
Prepare for the worst, Celtics fans.
Obviously, if the Celtics aren’t going to trade Jaylen Brown in a deal for Bradley Beal, a package still must be built around assets that A.) add up the salary in which Bradley Beal will be paid in 2021-22 ($34,502,129) and B.) intrigue the Wizards enough for a deal to legitimately be accepted.
So, who does the package start with?
As a salary filler, the Celtics will need to start by unfortunately moving on from Al Horford.
Due to make $27,000,000 in 2021-22, Al Horford, although just recently required by the Celtics in June, comes across as a perfect salary filler in a potential package for Bradley Beal.
Despite Al driving down the hill of the back end of his career, if the Wizards traded for Al, they likely wouldn’t find a problem trying to flip him for an asset. In the end, as a player who can still bring winning to any ball club, Al Horford holds some type of value on the market, especially considering his contract continues to inch closer and closer to expiring.
Following the recent trade transaction to land Horford back in Boston, the front office may be hesitant to move someone of Al Horford’s stature. Nonetheless, if the prize comes in the form of Bradley Beal paired with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Al Horford will not receive the benefit of the doubt.
Outside of Al Horford, the Wizards are going to demand an asset in which they can flip for something that either A.) improves Washington’s roster or B.) improves their timeline.
Examining the Celtics’ roster as a whole, Marcus Smart fits this category like a glove.
Although Smart doesn’t fit the timeline of the Wizards, Marcus Smart undoubtedly holds value on the trade market. Heading into next season, contending teams will want to deal for someone who can improve their championship odds.
Such as Marcus Smart, who will be on an expiring contract.
Taking a page out of Sam Presti’s rebuilding manifesto, Washington can acquire Smart with the vision of acquiring assets later on.
To go along with Horford and Smart, Boston, uncomfortably so, must add their most coveted young players into the package.
Starting with an obvious candidate, in a deal where the Wizards are giving up the NBA’s 2nd leading scorer, they’re inevitably going to ask for Payton Pritchard.
While Celtics fans may cringe at the fact the Celtics will have to hand over Pritchard to attain Beal, the Celtics ultimately must part ways with their most promising young player if they’re going to secure a big 3 for their future.
Pushing the knife deeper into the wound, another young player that would find himself departing Boston in order to make a Bradley Beal deal plausible promises to be Aaron Nesmith.
When Aaron Nesmith’s rookie year began, Nesmith appeared as a complete nightmare on the floor, particularly on the defensive end. However, over the course of the 2020-21 season, Aaron Nesmith displayed vast improvement from where he stood coming into the league.
Due to Nesmith’s hustle, shooting ability, and confidence, Nesmith quickly became one of the Celtics’ most prized young talents.
Last but not least, the last young player the Wizards undoubtedly lunge for in a potential deal with the Celtics for Bradley Beal comes in the form of Robert Williams.
Yes, Time Lord.
In 2020-21, Robert Williams saw a breakout season for himself, as he took a major step in the direction of becoming one of the league’s best rim running/shot blocking big man.
Despite Robert Williams looking like a near cornerstone during his 3rd year in the NBA, if the Celtics need to move off of Robert Williams in order to secure Bradley Beal (without giving up Jaylen Brown), the front office needs to jump at the first chance they see.
With Robert Williams’ financial future with the Celtics up in the air, the Wizards, at the end of the day, would likely take care of Robert Williams and place a spotlight upon him in their rebuilding process.
Next to Avdija and Hachimura, Rob Williams upgrades Thomas Bryant’s spot.
Of course, for the Celtics front office, giving away a player of Robert Williams’ caliber wouldn’t be easy.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, their decision regarding the acquirement of Bradley Beal decision will likely come in the form of letting go of Robert Williams.
However, considering Robert Williams’ injury history, the money he may demand in the near future, and the championship altering circumstances at hand, the Celtics undeniably hand over Robert Williams in a Bradley Beal trade 100 out of 100 times.
An Arsenal of Picks
Aside from the players involved in a potential Bradley Beal packages, if the latest superstar trade trend continues, the Celtics will need to throw a fairly hefty load of picks at the Wizards.
Taking into account the Wizards, in this hypothetical trade package scenario, are receiving three quality former 1st round picks, the amount of picks Washington would receive in a scenario as such likely wouldn’t reach the level of a James Harden or Paul George trade.
Rather, if the Celtics threw Payton Pritchard, Robert Williams, and Aaron Nesmith at the Wizards for Bradley Beal, adding in their 2023 and 2025 first round picks (two picks the Celtics likely won’t need if they’re competing) and sweetening the deal with two future pick swaps in 2026 and 2027 (after Tatum’s deal expires) seems risky yet reasonable.
Do the Wizards see this many assets anywhere else? I think not.
Obviously, as this entire package is theoretical, other young players (Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards, or Moses Brown), veterans (Tristan Thompson or Jabari Parker), and picks could be substituted or even instituted into a package for Bradley Beal.
At the moment, the combinations of packages the Celtics could throw Washington’s way are endless.
Why the Celtics Should Go All In Now
Diving deeper into a potential Celtics-Wizards deal surrounding Bradley Beal, fans must understand why the Celtics should hand away a godfather package for Bradley Beal now.
Instead of alternatively waiting to sign him as a free agent in 2022.
If the Celtics pass on acquiring Bradley Beal via trade now, there is a possibility another team swipes in such , trades for Beal, and signs him long term. Simultaneously, eliminating any possibility of Boston acquiring Beal in free agency next year, if the front office decided to hold out.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, the Sixers, Warriors, and Heat have been rumored to be interested in Beal as well.
Not to mention, if Bradley Beal did decide to do the unthinkable and picked up the last year of his player option for the 2022-23 season, the Celtics would see themselves stranded in the water as well.
Furthermore, the argument for Celtics trading for Beal now grows even stronger when considering some of the assets, such as Marcus Smart and Al Horford, departing to Washington would need to be shipped off anyway if the Celtics wanted to sign Beal as a free agent.
In a scenario like such, in the summer of 2022, the Celtics are likely forced into a sign-and-trade deal to acquire Beal and his bird rights, hard capping the team, which would inevitably take away all flexibility from the front office to build a competent team around Beal, Tatum, and Brown.
Financially, the house will be cleared either way.
With that being said, if the Celtics themselves acquire Bradley Beal now, they’ll own the ability to sign Beal long term. In turn, can potentially lock up a core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Bradley Beal in Boston for a period of at least 3+ years, rather than only 2 with no financial flexibility if the team waited to sign Beal as a free agent.
Creating a Big 3 in the East
All things considered, pairing up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown up with Bradley Beal automatically creates a high octane offensive super team in the East, good enough to combat the Nets or Bucks, regardless of the pieces surrounding Beal, Tatum, and Brown.
Similar to Brooklyn and Milwaukee, the Celtics have a chance to pair multiple superstars and “worry about the rest” later.
Considering the competition the Celtics face in the East nowadays and the ever growing “super team” culture, if Boston’s front office sees an opportunity to unload a godfather father offer on the Wizards with the intention of signing Bradley Beal to a contract extension when he arrives in Boston, Brad Stevens cannot hesitate to pull the trigger.
A Summary of a Potential Celtics Package for Bradley Beal
•Al Horford: ($27,000,000)
•Marcus Smart: ($14,339,285)
•Robert Williams: ($3,661,976)
•Aaron Nesmith: ($3,631,200)
•Payton Pritchard: ($2,137,440)
Wizards Cap Number
•Bradley Beal ($34,502,129)
Celtics Cap Number
(*Trade Note: Trade must be processed on August 17th or later, due to Al Horford’s 60 day trade restriction)