Since the 2020 offseason, the Washington Wizards have been telling everyone in the league that they have no intention of trading All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal and undergoing a full-scale rebuild. However, as they continue to struggle in the 2020-21 NBA season, rumors have started to circulate that Beal is growing unhappy with the team and could soon find his way out of Washington. Once he officially demands a trade, the Wizards would be left with no choice but to listen to offers for him before the 2021 trade deadline.
One of the teams that are expected to express a strong interest in acquiring Beal is the Philadelphia 76ers. According to Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report, the Sixers could acquire Beal from the Wizards by sending them a package that includes Ben Simmons, a 2021 first-round pick, and a top-10 protected 2023 first-round pick.
“This is another deal that’s more about the prospect than the draft capital, and Ben Simmons might move the needle even more than MPJ for some. At 24, Simmons has already made two All-Star teams, is one of the best passers in the league and is rapidly emerging as a perennial All-NBA-level defender. His lack of shooting makes him a terrible fit alongside Westbrook, but Simmons’ contract runs at least two years longer (three, if Westbrook declines his massive player option for 2022-23). In lineups with Simmons, Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Isaac Bonga, the Wizards would have plenty of size, playmaking and switchability.”
Swapping Beal for Simmons would make more sense for the Wizards if they also succeed to find a taker for Russell Westbrook and his massive salary. By successfully dumping Westbrook, they could immediately rebuild the team with Simmons as the centerpiece. The former No. 1 overall pick may still have plenty of flaws with his games, but he has shown huge potential to become a legitimate superstar in the league. Simmons, together with Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, and Isaac Bonga, could form the core of the next title-contending team that the Wizards would try to build in the post-Beal era.
Meanwhile, sacrificing Simmons would be a difficult decision for the Sixers, but it would be worth it if it means acquiring a player of Beal’s caliber. Bringing Beal to the City of Brotherly Love would allow the Sixers to add an All-Star that perfectly complements Joel Embiid’s game. Sharing the floor with an elite three-point shooter who could excel on the court with or without the ball in his hands would help them maximize Embiid’s full potential on the court and allow him to focus more on punishing opponents under the basket.
The Sixers may currently own the best record in the Eastern Conference, but adding Beal to their core of Embiid, Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, and Danny Green would further solidify their chances of reaching the NBA Finals and ending their title drought in the 2020-21 NBA season.