The Washington Wizards are among the most disappointing teams in the league in the early going of the season at 2-8, and they may move Bradley Beal as a result.
According to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, "With the Wizards in disarray, teams thirsting for a blockbuster trade are increasingly shifting their gaze toward Beal."
O'Connor reported the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are interested in Beal, although "most people around the league consider Brooklyn a fairly unlikely destination to land a star considering it lacks a high-value player or asset to put into a deal."
The 76ers may be a more likely destination if they are willing to part with Ben Simmons in a potential deal.
Beal could be the biggest trade piece available during the 2020-21 campaign, especially since O'Connor reported Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone may not be willing to deal James Harden this season.
The Wizards guard is under contract through 2021-22 with a player option for 2022-23, so he wouldn't even be a rental for any team that traded for him.
Frankly, there is little reason for optimism in Washington if Russell Westbrook continues to play poorly, and moving Beal could help the team accelerate a rebuild with draft capital or young players.
Westbrook is 32 years old, and it is fair to worry that his aggressive style of play will fall off as he ages. There have always been concerns about his shot selection and percentages, and he is shooting 37.8 percent from the field with 5.3 turnovers per game this season.
Beal, on the other hand, has been largely brilliant.
Through nine games this season, he is averaging 35.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from deep.
He is also just 27 years old and could anchor the 76ers alongside Joel Embiid for seasons to come if they landed him in a deal. Grouping him with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn would also give the Nets arguably the best trio of playmakers in the league.
A Beal trade could tilt the Eastern Conference race, so it is no surprise two of the presumed contenders are reportedly in the running.