By Harris Michaels
Would the woeful Wizards even think about trading Bradley Beal, who just happens to be their best player?
They fired longtime president Ernie Grunfeld, so Beal isn’t exempt:
“I’m not saying you have to trade him,” an executive from one of this year’s top teams told David Aldridge of The Athletic on Monday, prior to the Wizards announcing Grunfeld’s dismissal. “But you do have to think about it.”
Beal is still only 25 years old, growing into his full potential as one of the NBA’s best shooting guards with two years still left on his current deal.
Yet it won’t be long before the Wizards could go into the summer of 2020 not knowing if Beal wants to be in Washington for the long haul or not. He has expressed loyalty to the franchise, but that can all change if the Wizards have another subpar season and fail to add any help with John Wall likely sidelined for potentially all of next season.
Owner Ted Leonsis already started to make changes, first parting with Otto Porter Jr. before the trade deadline expired and now by firing Grunfeld. Beal’s future, however, will depend on the front-office voices he hires to take control:
“I’d like a next generation, more collaborative environment where I can hear lots of voices,” Leonsis said Wednesday. “Traditionally, in organizations, especially in one as large as ours is, you have divisions, if you will. There’s a hierarchy. And I have always, and continue to respect, a hierarchy. When I’m involved, that’s not a good sign. And one of my personal concerns was breaking respect. I didn’t want to ever break respect. So, for the next three weeks, I’m not going to be externally focused at all. All of the focus is, what have I done right and what have I done wrong with our organization? And the only way I’m going to find out is talking to people. Sometimes, I talk too much. I have to listen more.”
Beal could very well be a strong building block, but if he isn’t deemed that by the next front office, the idea of trading him shouldn’t be far fetched, but rather seen as a team doing its due diligence and looking out for the franchise’s best interest.