In an NBA where the new CBA was set up to prevent a collection of stars, the Phoenix Suns are going for it anyway.
The Wizards have agreed to trade Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul — his salary for this season gets picked up at $30.8 million — Landry Shamet, a couple of second-round picks and multiple pick swaps, a story broken almost simultaneously by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Beal had to waive his no-trade clause to allow this trade to go through, and Wojnarowski got confirmation from Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, that he would do so.
“This was an extremely complicated process with so many different hurdles to get through and Ted Leonsis and Michael Winger were unbelievable partners in making this happen,” Bartelstein told ESPN. “From the day that Ted drafted Brad he has been by our side along with [former general managers] Ernie Grunfeld and Tommy Sheppard. They’ve always had Brad’s back in every way and now we have experienced the exact same thing with Ted and Michael Winger. We are extremely grateful.”
It’s another big swing for new Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who took control of the team — and basketball operations — just before the trade deadline and made the move for Kevin Durant, putting him next to Devin Booker. He has gone all-in on a title, but it comes with challenges and risks.
This forms a “big 3” top-heavy team for Phoenix that will be a playoff threat in the West if all their players can make it to the postseason healthy (both Durant and Beal have injury histories in recent years).
However, the Suns just got bounced from the playoffs by the Nuggets because Denver had superior depth (and with that, versatility). Having Beal making $46.7 million next season, Durant at $47.7 million and Booker at $36 million has the Suns at more than $130 million for the three of them, and the salary cap is $134 million. Add in Deandre Ayton at $32.5 million and the Suns are not just into the luxury tax but almost bumping up against the restrictive second apron of the tax ($179.5 million) with most of a roster to still fill out. While the Suns can round the roster out with veteran minimum players, the Lakers of a couple of seasons ago are an example of the challenges of that approach. (Phoenix may try to trade Ayton for depth.)
For Washington, this is the first step in a tear-it-down-to-the-studs rebuild that has been long overdue but never okayed by owner Ted Leonsis (who kept them pushing to make the playoffs, and with that ending up a .500ish team hoping to get a lower playoffs seed). Expect the Wizards to try to make a sign-and-trade with Kyle Kuzma this summer, and the same (or an outright trade if he opts in) with Kristaps Porzingis. The Wizards are about to look very different.
The Miami Heat had been considered the frontrunners for Beal but could not put together a deal the Suns liked around Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson (or Victor Oladipo) and some first-round picks. This is a miss for the Heat, who want to add another star next to Jimmy Butler. The Heat reportedly wanted to slow play the trade with the Wizards to see what might happen with Damian Lillard — Portland has no intention of trading him as of now and wants to trade its No. 3 pick plus Anfernee Simons to get a star next to Lillard — but the Wizards wanted to move quickly (for that exact reason).
Check out more on the Wizards
NBA draft, trade rumors roundup: Wizards wishes, Suns chasing stars, more Wizards reportedly moving quickly toward Bradley Beal trade; Heat, Suns frontrunners NBA draft, trade rumors roundup: Beal talking to teams, Hornets prefer Ingram…
Suns go for stars, to trade for Bradley Beal, send Paul, Shamet, picks to Wizards originally appeared on NBCSports.com
Source: Yahoo Sports