Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported last July the Heat "engaged" the Wizards in talks regarding Beal and—given Washington's relative salary-cap inflexibility—it seemed a deal involving Beal could be in the cards.
However, the Wizards consistently stated their desire to keep Beal in the nation's capital, eventually coming to terms on a two-year extension worth close to $70 million.
Beal had been terrific for Washington this season prior to the suspension of play. The former Florida Gator was averaging 30.5 points, 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds through his first 57 games. Beal really turned it on after the All-Star break, averaging 36.5 points on 60.1 percent true shooting while hanging 50-plus points on the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks in consecutive outings.
But despite his individual brilliance, Beal has not been able to seriously keep the Wizards in contention. Washington (24-40) was still 5.5 games back of the Orlando Magic for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference before the stoppage, and the team will be hard-pressed to catch the Magic in the event the 2019-20 season is allowed to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The injuries and relative inexperience on the roster have often resulted in Beal fending for himself. Beal has had a tough time rolling with the punches, showing visible frustration on a number of occasions.
Might his name resurface in the trade market?
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, the Brooklyn Nets have "internally discussed" acquiring Beal to form their own trio of Beal, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Bondy also noted the Nets' top three assets would likely be shooting guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert as well as third-year big man Jarrett Allen.
There may be intrigue on both sides. The Nets would hypothetically be getting another superstar in Beal, but he has gotten used to being a ball-dominant player in recent times. How would Beal mesh with Irving and Durant, both of whom need quite a bit of the ball?
From Washington's perspective, what is the asking price? Dinwiddie seems especially valuable. He could give the Wizards production next season but will also be in the final year of his deal assuming he does not accept his player option for the 2021-22 season. Allen is also still on his rookie deal and is already one of the best defensive centers in the NBA.
Thus, the Wizards might have an opportunity to compete while freeing up added cap space. Perhaps they find a way to acquire Brooklyn's first-round pick in 2020. Regardless, it would appear Washington has options in the event they decide to dangle Beal this summer.
Wizards 'Don't Want' to Trade Beal
Then again, perhaps the trade chatter is premature.
Fred Katz and Ben Standig of The Athletic discussed the latest Beal rumor on Thursday afternoon on the Wizards After Dark podcast.
Despite Bondy's report, Katz said (at around the 12:00 mark): "I know that as of now, they don't want to trade Bradley Beal this summer. They constantly say they don't want to trade Bradley Beal, and Bradley Beal doesn't want to be traded."
It seems unlikely the Wizards would have extended Beal if they felt he might be traded shortly thereafter.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis told NBC Sports national NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh he wanted to build a culture around Beal and John Wall back in November. Naturally, that has been hard to achieve this season given Wall's absence.
Of course, the Wizards are in a tough place financially. Washington already has over $101 million committed for next season, per Basketball Reference. The outlook is even bleaker in terms of cap space in the following seasons once Beal's extension kicks in.
The pandemic will almost certainly impact the salary cap, as Marc Berman of the New York Post reported earlier this month. Might a lowered cap (and the fallout from such a change) eventually force the Wizards to move Beal?
Perhaps Washington reassesses Beal's future with the organization in the coming months. But as of now, it appears the Wizards will retain Beal in the hope he and a healthy Wall can reinvigorate the franchise next year.