Help may be on the way to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. And if it comes in the form of Bradley Beal, Brooklyn will have one of the game's most talented Big Threes.
"Immersed in their championship window, the Brooklyn Nets are in the market for a third star and have internally discussed avenues of acquiring Wizards guard Bradley Beal," Stefan Bondy wrote for the Daily News. "It's unclear whether Beal will become available, though his circumstances have prompted speculation. The two-way guard is among the league's highest-paid players and on a Wizards team with a low ceiling."
If Washington ever decides to steer into a rebuild, teams will likely be lining up with offers for Beal. The 26-year-old 2-guard is averaging 30.5 points, 6.1 assists and 3.0 threes in 2019-20. Stephen Curry and James Harden are the only players in league history to post 30-6-3 campaigns.
And his game seems plenty portable. He's already shown an ability to coexist with another ball-dominant star in John Wall. It would likely be even more of an adjustment to play alongside KD and Kyrie, but shooting is one of the most important ingredients in these superteam recipes. And Beal is a career 38.0 percent shooter from deep.
The asking price will have a lot to do with how many teams are interested, but Brooklyn figures to have enough to at least present some interesting possibilities.
In January, Kyrie had some eyebrow-raising comments about the team's supporting cast. And since then, the idea of a trade has hovered over the Nets:
"I mean, it's transparent. It's out there. It's glaring, in terms of the pieces that we need in order to be at that next level.
"I'm going to continue to reiterate it. We're going to do the best with the guys that we have in our locker room now, and we'll worry about all the other stuff, in terms of moving pieces and everything else, as an organization down the line in the summer. ...
"Collectively, I feel like we have great pieces, but it's pretty glaring we need one more piece or two more pieces that will complement myself, [Durant], [DeAndre Jordan], [Garrett Temple], [Spencer Dinwiddie], Caris [LeVert], and we'll see how that evolves."
Well, to get a piece like Beal, the Nets would likely need to be willing to part with some of the players Kyrie named. For starters, it'll likely take an intriguing youngster, salary-matching contracts and draft picks to get Washington to budge. Brooklyn can feasibly send all of that.
The Deal: Caris LeVert ($16.2 million), Spencer Dinwiddie ($11.4 million), 2021 first-round pick, 2023 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick from the Atlanta Hawks for Bradley Beal ($28.8 million)
Brooklyn probably needs to open with something along these lines. LeVert may not be quite as young as you think (he turns 26 in August), but he still has a few years of on-court development left in him.
This season, he has posted career highs in points (17.7) and three-point percentage (38.1 percent) and showed a flash of brilliance in a 51-point game in March.
Dinwiddie is older still, but even at 27, he too is on the rise. He is averaging 20.6 points and 6.8 assists in 31.2 minutes in 2019-20, mostly as a starter in Kyrie's injury-induced absence. And he's 33rd in offensive box plus/minus.
The chances of either player reaching the level Beal has been at for the last couple years are low. But again, these possibilities only exist if Washington chooses to rebuild. And replacing Beal's money (an average of $33.5 million per season through 2022-23) with that of LeVert ($17.5 million average salary through 2022-23) and Dinwiddie (who has a player option for 2021-22) opens up significant flexibility.
If either hits and helps the Wizards get back to the playoffs with Wall, great. If not, Washington has contracts it can move in future deals and multiple picks coming back.
But again, this probably a starting offer. Other teams around the league can pony up and beat it. So, what would a more aggressive offer look like?
The Deal: Everything from the trade above, along with two of Jarrett Allen, Dzanan Musa and Nicolas Claxton
This gives Washington everything already outlined as well as one of the league's more intriguing young rim-runners and a flier.
In 2019-20, Allen is averaging 14.7 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per 75 possessions, with a 65.8 true shooting percentage and the sixth-best box plus/minus in the league among players his age or younger.
Allen has the potential to be a legitimate defensive anchor, something the Wizards desperately need (they are dead last on that end this season). And the pressure he can put on the rim as a roll man will open things up for shooters like Davis Bertans.
Then there's Musa or Claxton. Neither has shown much in the NBA, but both are just 21. Acquiring one of them falls in line with the strategy Washington took last season: Just collect young talent and see who takes off.
Last summer, they picked up Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, Moritz Wagner. And the summer before that they acquired Thomas Bryant. Perhaps Musa or Claxton could exceed expectations the way Wagner did when he was healthy.
There are other permutations for Brooklyn to explore. Taurean Prince's 2020-21 salary is $13.9 million. DeAndre Jordan coming to the Nets as an incentive to land KD and Kyrie probably means he's not going anywhere, but his salary could help with the math too. Either could enter the equation. And without any first-round picks going out after 2020, Brooklyn can sweeten the pot with even more of those.
If the end result is Beal sharing the floor with Irving and Durant, everyone but those two superstars should be available. The team can figure out the rest of the supporting cast after the deal is done.
There's an obvious possibility that those three big personalities would clash, but the amount of playmaking and shooting between the three would make the team a nightmare to defend.
Even with powerhouses like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks looming and KD coming off a torn Achilles, this potential Big Three would be a very real threat for a championship.