Welcome to the defining trade of the BOGO (Bold Owner Goes Overboard) era. In one corner, we have the Phoenix-made Ishbia, quickly weeding out any property that can’t afford to overpay for whatever shiny object appears next on the market. In another, we have Washington’s Ted Leonsis, who has begun a long overdue tear less than a year after brazenly declaring Bradley Beal’s no-trade clause a “coalition point.”
Ironically, the partnership became less symbiotic when one of the partners looked to spend the following January in the upper Midwest. A no-trade rule could cost guarantors considerable opportunity and influence as they severely restrict Washington’s trade options.
Of course, the decision came three years late, amid chest-beating about never tanking, and in the interim Beal’s trade value went from a Rudy Gobert-esque return to…not so much. (Ultimately, the deal was traded to Washington in exchange for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, some second-round picks and one or two irrelevant first-round picks for Beal and Jordan Goodwin. It would expand to a three-team deal, but it would be part of the Washington-Phoenix trade. )
The Wizards didn’t have much and got a lot more Won the trade Having already traded four unprotected picks to Brooklyn for Michael Bridges, Cam Johnson and Kevin Durant, it’s a testament to the Suns’ willingness to do more splashy things under Ishbia. Only a handful of players on the planet are capable of winning a playoff series by themselves, and that trade was at least defensible on the basis that they wouldn’t be available via trade at a reliable interval.
Trading Beal, on the other hand, is a very different beast. Start with the fact that Beal’s deal could be negative, even without the no-trade clause that now moves Phoenix. With a BORD$ value of $32.5 million for 2023-24, the 30-year-old makes $42.5 million this season.
He is still a good Player, but he gets a better salary. Between the blah defense, the injuries and his strangely missing 3-ball, ranking Beal among the league’s 25 best players is a real stretch. However, that deal, with $57 million in 2026-27, pays him like a superstar until age 33. It can be a tough number to deal with when things aren’t going well.
Did I mention Peel has a no-trade clause?
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I was a bit surprised by the Suns’ rush to get rid of Chris Paul. While trading him is at least better than Bonkers’ idea of cutting him, it’s strange how much they’ve ruined his value. Yes, he was injured in the playoffs, clearly taking a step back in 2022-23 after an All-Star 2021-22 season. He is 38 years old and sometimes he slows down the team too much. Even so, I’d argue that Ball at $30.8 million isn’t a worse proposition than Beal at $42.5 million, and he doesn’t come with a big bill and a no-trade clause for the next four years.
All of that discussion looks at the Beal trade in a vacuum. But of course, the Suns don’t play in a vacuum. (Albeit seemingly at the rate that their future draft picks are gone.) Beal, instead, now plays on the same team as Devin Booker … except for Booker, who might be the only player in the entire league who resembles Beal. The youngest and only slightly better of them all.
Inevitably, Booker’s presence (not to mention Durant’s) will push Beal into something he hasn’t been for a long time, a mostly off-ball spacer who may be experiencing a Chris Bosh-to-Miami type slump. . There is only one basketball; Mathematics does not permit anything else.
The upside is that Beal’s shot profile will become dramatically more 3-heavy and more accurate in Phoenix. It wasn’t a dream, not when Beal relied on self-created shots in Washington and John Wall had high 3-point percentages as a set-up man. But that’s not a given, and the Sun certainly isn’t addressing a weakness here.
Naturally, the Suns line up with both Beal and Booker, but that forces either Booker to be a full-time point guard or one of those two full-time wing stoppers. Second LOL, so look for the Suns to bring back Torrey Craig or look for cheap wing defenders elsewhere to bolster the rotation.
Which brings us to the other big picture from the Beal trade. Phoenix is using its last realistic trade chip to take a step back defensively and add another offensive player … a completely natural reaction to losing a second-round playoff series when the other team is averaging 1.22 points per game and its best player is scoring 34.5 points per game. 59 percent shooting.
One of the columns I didn’t push out during the NBA Finals was how the Nuggets’ winning pattern could follow given how unique Nikola Jokic was as a player. However, I thought there would be teams Of course The Nuggets’ model is to arm themselves with a large array of wing defenders and take away opponents’ ability to hunt mismatches around the perimeter.
This seemed like the best way to guarantee a decent-to-good defensive output, especially for a team like Phoenix that lacks an elite rim protector or pick-and-roll switch specialist.
Well, the Suns started with that model and burned it to the ground to acquire Durant and Beal. While they didn’t lose any wing defenders in this trade, they did lose the ability to add anything. You wonder if a trade that earns Paul $15 million for two half-decent wings would have ended up with a better end product for the Suns. (The Suns at least salvaged some cheap production by getting Goodwin in a trade for a rotation-caliber player on a minimum contract.)
Phoenix still has a chance to salvage its cap sheet by making a similar one-for-two move with center Deandre Ayton. However, unless he has a breakout year, the odds seem slim, as the league doesn’t place great value on centers in general and centers making $30 million a year in particular. It’s hard to see this trade changing, with Ayden likely to touch the ball, what, four times per game?
In perhaps the ultimate irony, a Suns team that suffered for years under one of the league’s cheapest owners will now be punished for the rookie’s indecency. Absent a dramatic Ayton trade this offseason, the Suns expect to be on the second-line apron for at least the next three years, resulting in a “locked-in” future draft pick situation and no flexibility to add players beyond minimum contracts. .
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Here is some KG-to-net potential on the road. The Suns have already traded unprotected picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029 in the Durant trade to Brooklyn; If they stay in the second apron for three of the next five years, based on a copy of the term sheet of the incoming CBA AthleticTheir first-round pick in 2032, despite being the worst team in the league, could automatically be moved to the back end of the draft under the new CBA rules.
For Washington, it was a bittersweet victory. Finally, DC has a bigger view than just liking the average. On the other hand, the entire Peel saga was a completely preventable own goal. As mentioned above, we proudly boast that we are less than a year removed from Leonsis. A point of partnership.”
As mentioned above, the opportunity cost of not trading Beal three years ago and instead chasing the ninth seed a few more times really hurts. I can relate from my own experience how difficult it is to execute an organizational U-turn on something like this. We were two years late in rebuilding our own in Memphis, and were fortunate that Marc Gasol and Mike Conley retained most of their trade value once we pulled the trigger. Washington was not so lucky, and reconstruction would be long and painful.
Fortunately, the Wizards could have a chance to win this trade a second time by moving Paul to a third team for expiring contracts and/or secondary assets. As a result of this deal he increased his contract guarantee to $25.04 million this season; $30.1 million is fully guaranteed on June 28.
It should end any discussion that would give him away; Paul is the most compelling trade piece at this point as a living, breathing player on an expiring contract. Indeed, any analysis of cap room shenanigans focuses on the wrong player. The Wizards could make several more millions in cap room by extending Shamet’s $10.6 million over seven years, though that play is also unlikely.
The weird part is that a lot of it plays out in slow motion. I don’t think the Suns added anything to their title odds in this deal, but they should be good this year. Like the Durant trade, the pain won’t come until later, but when it hits, it hits hard. A pogo party is always fun while it lasts, but there’s no cure for hangovers.
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(Photo by Bradley Beal and Landry Shamet: Christian Peterson/Getty Images)