Current and former NBA execs discuss what Knicks might have to trade for Bradley Beal

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Bradley Beal treated image in Wizards jersey
Bradley Beal treated image in Wizards jersey

Bradley Beal hasn’t asked the Wizards to be traded. But as long as Washington keeps losing, the media speculation around a Beal trade will continue.

Can the Knicks put together a good package for Beal? We talked to a few opposing teams and former execs about the topic.

Here is a summary of some of their thoughts...

WHO IS THE KNICKS' OLADIPO?

Multiple teams/former execs referenced the recent James Harden trade when talking about potential Beal deals.

In a four-team deal, Houston ended up with a package headlined by Victor Oladipo, three unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick, and four first-round pick swaps.

If the Wizards decide to trade Beal, it’s logical to think that Washington would want a return that’s somewhat commensurate to Houston’s package for Harden.

Could they get that kind of return? Beal doesn’t have the same credentials as Harden but he’s 27 and one of the best shooting guards in the league. Given all of the factors at play, “it’s highly unlikely” to think that Washington could get something close to what Houston received, one team said.

The Knicks have five first-round picks in the next three drafts. They have two picks coming from the Dallas Mavericks as a result of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. The 2021 pick is unprotected. At the moment, it looks like that could be a top-20 pick. So New York could offer Washington two strong picks in the 2021 draft, which is seen as incredibly deep.

As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted on ESPN Radio with Alan Hahn and Bart Scott, several NBA teams are limited in what picks they can offer in a trade because of previous trades they’ve made. And because NBA teams can’t trade their own first-round picks in consecutive seasons. So the Knicks could have an advantage on some Beal suitors with regard to first-round picks.

But the issue for New York will be: Do they have an Oladipo-type talent to offer Washington?

That was the issue several teams brought up when talking about potential Beal deals. It should be noted that Oladipo can be a free agent this offseason, but Houston can trade him instead of losing him for nothing.

"RJ Barrett isn’t there yet. Neither is Mitchell Robinson. Maybe they could do something around both guys? But I don’t think a package around one of them is enough,” one team said. “Randle’s having a great season, but I don't know if he'd headline a Beal trade.”

THEY CAN MAKE THE MONEY WORK

The Knicks wouldn’t have a problem matching salaries for the trade. They are roughly $18 million under the cap. But, the opposing teams and former execs we spoke to all mentioned that several teams with young, established stars could put together better packages.

“The picks alone probably won’t get it done,” a former exec said.

The picks, cap space and young players can put the Knicks in conversations for trades of unhappy star players. But can those assets get them to the finish line?

Maybe we’ll find out over the next few weeks.

If New York trades for Beal, it’s almost certain that they’d re-sign him to a max contract (35 percent of the salary cap) at the end of his current deal. So the Knicks would have the elusive star in his prime locked in for several seasons.

That’s one of the biggest hurdles in team building. Stars, generally, attract other stars. So Beal on the Knicks would help draw future free agents to New York.

The hard part, of course, is constructing a deal that would satisfy Washington. And so far, all of this is purely speculation. Because there is no indication that Beal will ask for a trade. Beal has made it clear that he wants to win in Washington. If it isn’t in Washington, he presumably would want to be moved to a situation where he can win. Would he see the Knicks as a team he can win with? That’s unknown.

OTHER TRADE TALK

As noted earlier this week, Lonzo Ball and Derrick Rose are two names to keep an eye on as the March 25 trade deadline approaches.