When the Philadelphia 76ers went through the first half of the 2021-2022 NBA season navigating through the Ben Simmons saga, they had several players they were willing to trade the All-Star guard for if those prospects became available.
For months, the Sixers’ top target was rumored to be Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Once Lillard made it quite clear he wasn’t going to request a trade, the focus shifted from the Blazers standout to Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
Once again, the Wizards’ decline in the Eastern Conference standings proved they weren’t contenders. While everybody assumed that Beal would request a trade at some point, it never happened. And when it became clear that Beal wasn’t going anywhere, the Sixers had their eyes on Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden.
Eventually, the Sixers landed Harden. While they got a star they were searching for in exchange for a Simmons-based package, the 76ers were rumored to be going into the 2022 offseason on the hunt for a star once again. As expected, Bradley Beal was mentioned as a possible target.
Could it Happen?
This offseason, Bradley Beal has a $36.4 million player option attached to his contract. If he were to opt out, Beal would become a free agent and could sign anywhere.
While Beal is expected to decline the option, it’s becoming apparent that he won’t thoroughly test the market and search for a new situation. According to ESPN, Beal will likely reach a long-term deal with Washington.
“Even if Beal simply re-signs with the Wizards, he can increase his 2022-23 salary to the projected max of $42.7 million. Per Wojnarowski, Beal is very likely to decline the option and re-sign with Washington on a five-year deal worth a projected $248 million that would take him through age 33.”
The Sixers’ chances of landing Beal always seemed far-fetched since Philadelphia’s offseason started. Philly wouldn’t be able to sign Beal unless they struck a sign-and-trade with the Wizards. While you can never say never when it comes to the NBA, Neither Washington nor Beal seems to be pushing for that scenario.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.
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