Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated
June 19, 2023 — The first major news of the NBA offseason came out yesterday, when it was made public that the Washington Wizards have agreed to a trade with the Phoenix Suns. The package included three time All star guard Bradley Beal together with guard Jordan Goodwin and forward Isaiah Todd to Phoenix in exchange for nine time all star Chris Paul, guard Landry Shamet, several second-round picks and a picks swap. A new powerhouse team in Phoenix with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and now Bradley Beal.
Beal, being the only player with a no trade clause negotiated into his contract with the Wizards, who drafted him No. 3 overall in 2012, was able to control his possible destinations, and he chose Phoenix. Beal averaged 23.2 points last season on a career best 51% shooting despite an injury plagued season and playing 50 games. The Suns now have four max contracts on their salary cap with Booker, Ayton and acquiring Durant earlier this year. Clearly, the Suns are now on a win now mode especially after the new collective bargaining agreement that limits the flexibility of teams after the luxury tax of $179.5 million.
The deal, however, could take a few days to complete to allow the Wizards to listen to offers regarding Paul and possibly make it a three team trade. If there are no suitors, it is a possibility that Paul and the Wizards will discuss a contract buyout and allow Paul to become a free agent.
Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report
There is no doubt the Suns can contend for the NBA title, if everyone manages to stay healthy. The offensive trio of Durant, Booker and Beal arguably is the best offensive trio in the NBA, allowing the Suns to have one of the top offenses in the league. The trio can become more deadly once they develop chemistry with one another. Obviously offense isn’t everything. The Suns recently hired Frank Vogel who is known to be a defensive minded coach, who can coach up Ayton and the rest of the team.
Despite a very promising Suns team, there are so many things that can go wrong. First is health. Will they be able to get Durant and Beal to be available for the majority of the games after the two have had several injury prone seasons. After all, they are paying both of them top dollars.
Second, depth. One of the reasons the Suns made a second round exit last post season is mainly because of the lack of depth on their lineup. As they enter the new season with a new CBA agreement, they only have Beal, Ayton, Booker, Durant and Cameron Payne guaranteed to be on the roster after the trade is finalized. These five combine for $169 million in salary, $7 million into the luxury tax and $10 million short of the draconian second apron (new CBA agreement). This new CBA agreement minimizes their flexibility of adding veterans and role players to increase their depth.
Everyone will have their opinion on what they think about this trade but it is only a matter of time until we can see if the Suns won this deal.