With the departure of Kawhi Leonard, there has been much discussion amongst the Toronto Raptors community over who will be the teams next acquired star. The two names that seem to be thrown around the most are reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Washington Wizards star, Bradley Beal. However, in the short term, there seems to be more of a focus on the latter of the two.
There appears to be strong confidence that the team can and should make a move for the all-star wing, and quite frankly it has gotten to a point of pure delusion. With that being said, I want to explain why I believe that Toronto getting Washington’s second star is not something to count on.
It all starts with Pascal Siakam. As a matter of fact, it is pretty much all because of Pascal Siakam. I am under the belief that the team would not be willing to move Beal to us without receiving the most recent MIP as a return. Over the past few months, for those who have been following, it has been more than evident that the Wizards organization are extremely attached to the player in question.
Much of this stems from comments their owner, Ted Leonsis, has made himself. Claiming that the Wizards will be “overly-protective,” of Beal, while the two seem to have great mutual respect for each other, especially with Beal going out of his way to state how confident he is in Ted’s vision, as well as to defend him.
Even recent reports further indicate how committed the team is to Beal. Before targeting Paul George, the Los Angeles Clippers supposedly looked at some other options, and as you may have guessed, Beal was one of them, and obviously, nothing went through. The Clippers had far better assets than Toronto. From Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet to all those wonderful picks. And of course, OKC had used the Raptors to force LAC to cough more up, but regardless, there would have been a more enticing offer up in Cali opposed to Toronto, considering how Siakam seems to be so untouchable (but more on that later).
The latest connection to Beal seems to be the Miami Heat, who have been trying to pair another star with Jimmy Butler as they were reluctant to match Houston’s offer for Russell Westbrook. With that being said, there are many reports about the Heat being willing to take on the max contract of John Wall to get Bradley, and that executives around the league believe he will be out of Washington one day. However, all these rumours are one-sided. Each and every single one states what the Heat are willing to do to get the former third overall pick. None of them claim that the Wizards are actually interested, and why would they be?
Miami was very protective of Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo in previous Westbrook talks, and they only wanted to give up one young piece which would likely have been Justice Winslow. Even if they were to take on John Wall’s contract, the Wizards are still loyal to him for the time being, probably waiting to see how his return from injury is. Regardless, that’s not the point here. The team Beal is currently most connected to really has no chance. If you still aren’t convinced that the team is interested in moving the 2013 draft classman, then Adrian Wojnarowski of all people reporting that the plan is to keep in the Capital should be enough.
So without Pascal, could we possibly make an offer that would blow them away? OG Anunoby would undeniably be a part of the deal, as would one of Ibaka and Marc Gasol to be filler to the trade. But, while OG Anunoby would be a solid addition to their frontcourt to pair with Rui Hachimura, the team has a strong desire to develop their own talent, and with the likes of Troy Brown Jr. at their disposal, they aren’t really desperate for a young small forward. As for Gasol/Ibaka, they have no need for a veteran big.
With the team having invested in Thomas Bryant this offseason, who is a very strong big working very hard, all this would do is increase their chances at the playoffs and give Bryant a temporary and seasoned mentor.
But there would have to be more to the trade, right? That alone is not a good offer by any means for Beal. I assume another player would be desired, and I imagine it would have to be Fred VanVleet (maybe Norman Powell due to a longer contract). After a historical finals showing and proving himself as a premier bench spark and potential starter across two consecutive seasons, there should be a notable market for the undrafted gem.
Taking on VanVleet would be a risk. He is on an expiring deal and will be a free agent next year, and I see no reason as to why there won’t be a large interest in him. With his very own slogan being “bet on yourself” as well as his history, it is not far-fetched to assume VanVleet will target the offer that guarantees him the biggest role and the best contract. If Washington is not willing to bank on Steady Freddy as their franchise point guard of the future, which I doubt they would, I am sure another team will.
Finally, there is the matter of a pick or two. Let’s say we give up one first. We are a team that is confident in our ability to succeed in the East, and with Bradley Beal, our chances would likely strengthen. The first-round pick would likely be a mid-late first-rounder, which is not necessarily the most intriguing option there is. And if we were truly determined to create a change of heart when it comes to this trade, then another first would probably be given up. To summarize, I imagine this trade would send away Fred, OG, two future first-rounders, and Marc Gasol/Serge Ibaka (and maybe Isaiah Thomas would be involved depending on his performance) to make the financial aspect of the deal work.
While detailing this hypothetical trade, I explained why it makes little sense for the Wizards to pull off (and I did not even touch on the questionable logic for our side). On top of it all, I am more than confident that if they wanted to deal Beal, another front office would be more than capable of topping us (Boston for example). So for fans to unironically act as if Gasol, OG, and picks, or Lowry and Powell are fair offers, that’s just ludicrous and ignorant. As for a Siakam, any realistic propose would not make sense. Many, myself included, and the front office as well it seems, wholeheartedly believe that Siakam can not only become better than Brad but can become a top ten player too.
I would not be surprised if you’re thinking “well, Washington is stupid,” or “you’re being pessimistic,” or that “Washington is tanking so our offers are good.” With Ernie Grunfeld finally gone, Tommy Sheppard has shown proficiency this offseason by drafting Rui Hachimura, signing players that fit around him and other young talents very well, taking a low-risk gamble on some throwaway Lakers talent, amongst other things. It’s unfair to assume they’ll just do anything stupid. The team has a vision, and trading Beal (especially without giving Siakam) makes no sense for them. Even if they are retooling, we won’t further their future via trade.
In conclusion, Bradley Beal is not someone the Toronto Raptors are going to get in some sort of transaction. Even if he doesn’t receive an extension, chances are that holds true unless something along the lines of trade being demanded and Masai pulling off one of his craziest trades to date occurs. Bradley Beal is a phenomenal player and a great person, and I have not even touched on how much impact he has on the team’s brand. Our best chance at getting him might be in 2021, and even then, we may not even be given the chance based on a possible extension. So, calm down a little with these talks, okay?