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Reports: Wizards, Beal will work together to find trade if team rebuilds; Sixers not in the market

Long-time Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal sounds like he could finally find a new home. It’s long been rumored that Joel Embiid would enjoy playing with his summer-workout partner.

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Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, we got multiple updates on the Bradley Beal trade front.

The Philadelphia 76ers seemed like they were interested in adding the long-time Washington Wizards guard back when they were trying to trade Ben Simmons more than a year ago.

You might recall The Ringer’s Bill Simmons saying “part of the reason the [James Harden trade] took so long was because there was the Sixers side that wanted [James] Harden—obviously Daryl [Morey], because Harden is his guy. But Embiid really wanted Beal because he felt like he was a better fit and was pushing, pushing, pushing.”

And there was also the time Jake Fischer, now with Yahoo Sports, hopped on the Liberty Ballers podcast network and offered this nugget, back in March of 2022:

“There’s a lot of smoke about [Bradley] Beal’s free agency decision. People are talking about the Philly outcome, right with the potential for Harden to take less money, it could be maybe a sign-and-trade with Tobias....”

Last summer, Ramona Shelburne alluded to this possibility as well, before Beal ultimately signed his supermax. That meant he’d need to wait at least one year before asking out.

(Playbook: say you’re loyal, sign a supermax, wait ‘til you’re trade eligible, then ask out!)

But he’s now trade eligible and possesses the NBA’s single no-trade clause (which would accompany him to his next team) so he has quite a bit of control over where he lands in any potential deal.

The latest from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:

In Woj’s story about this developing situation he adds:

“With the NBA draft looming on June 22 and free agency commencing on July 1, conversations on Beal’s future with the Wizards are expected to become more frequent, sources said.”

Shams Charania of The Athletic chimed in with Josh Robbins, adding:

In Charania and Robbins’ report for The Athletic, the two NBA insiders add:

“The sources, who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, said the Miami Heat are expected to be prominent suitors for Beal if he reaches the market.”

So with Tobias Harris’ contract now an expiring deal, do the Sixers have a package here to offer for a player Embiid may have long hoped to play with? Embiid and Beal famously (around here at least) share Drew Hanlen as a trainer and have worked out together during offseasons.

Surely, they don’t want to just sit back and watch Miami get him, right?

According to Kyle Neubeck of The PhillyVoice, Philly doesn’t seem interested:

“However, sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity insisted that the Sixers will not be pursuing Beal and are not interested in him as a long-term building block. The concerns on Philadelphia’s end are all the obvious ones laid out above. Committing $200 million to a player over the next four years under a CBA that is punitive for expensive teams is not a route they’re looking to travel.”

Now kicking in Tyrese Maxey for Beal doesn’t seem prudent at all. Maxey is ascending and Beal, as talented as the soon-to-be 30-year-old still is, may be on the wrong side of his prime.

He’s owed a megaton of cash too at a time more and more teams will be mindful of the new CBA and its restrictions.

All this at a time when the “big three” model, some credible cap-minded folks contend, could be in jeopardy.

In Boston, many folks are even wondering if a “Big two” build can be viable if the stars are both on supermax contracts, as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown may both soon be.

Embiid and Beal would both be supermax guys if paired up, so with Harden’s contract status up in the air, with Maxey’s own extension pending, let’s just say things would get exorbitant very quickly.

But for whatever it’s worth, the Sixers do have other assets to offer if, hypothetically, Beal said he wanted to be in Philadelphia. The Sixers could offer some combination of Harris, De’Anthony Melton, Jaden Springer, pick swaps in ‘24, ‘26, ‘28, PHI’s own 2029 1st, and up to six second-rounders.

Our Bryan Toporek recently wondered if Beal could be a target if Harden were to leave in free agency and looked at some of the financials.

If Neubeck is correct that the team doesn’t feel it’s a viable road towards contention to pay for all of Harden, Maxey, Beal and Embiid, then the timing here isn’t ideal for them.

For example, if Harden left for Houston, would that change their minds about making a play for Beal?

If so, Washington looking to make a move on NBA Draft day, still a week prior to the opening of free agency, would likely freeze Morey. Any headlines about the Sixers pursuing Harden contingency plans, while simultaneously trying to woo Harden wouldn’t help their cause.

(So maybe the Sixers not being interested is a smokescreen and they’ll wait to see how things shake out with James and Houston?)

Delving further, would Washington insist Morey include Maxey? If the Miami Heat were willing to offer players like Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson or Kyle Lowry, plus whatever other assets they could muster, might that drive the price up?

Just my two cents, but I think if the Sixers have a sense of the market for Tobias Harris and aren’t in love with the possibilities, if they wouldn’t need to part with Maxey, then they should absolutely get on the phone with Washington here.

If they could still retain Harden somehow, if owner Josh Harris and co. would pay for it all (the real big one) then adding Beal, forming a high-octane, high-cost (Beal is owed more than $200M moving forward, due a whopping $57M in 2026-2027) offensive attack would be pretty dang fun; certainly better than their status quo with Harris. And if Harden left then, well, you’d have a player who does enjoy shooting off the catch.

Harris only scored two points, and didn’t even attempt a second-half shot in their Game 6 closeout matchup vs. Boston. No matter how much better of a fit one felt Harris was, I think the talent disparity between Beal and Tobias is great enough to place a few calls.

But it sounds like this situation could heat up (pun!) quickly. Man, I’d hate to hear Pat Riley added Beal for relative peanuts and the Sixers might have been able to pry him away but didn’t want to pay for it all. It’s not my money but Beal seems a lot better than whoever else they might come up with this summer in possible Tobias deals. Maybe the Wizards would just laugh the Sixers off the phone if they tried to land Beal without including Maxey, and that’s the real reason we’re hearing they’re not interested.

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