Well, it looks like you can officially put this Bradley Beal/Rudy Gay trade rumor to bed. Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, denied a Memphis Commercial-Appeal report that the Wizards had offered the Grizzlies a deal that would have sent Beal to the Grizzlies. Via Michael Lee of the Washington Post:
"I've talked to both teams. There is absolutely nothing to it," Bartelstein said. The Wizards have made it very clear that they are not moving Brad Beal."
It's pretty noteworthy that Beal's agent went on the record to deny this rumor. You don't usually see that. What that means is open to interpretation.
Discussions about a potential Gay-to-Wizards trade are very real, according to Lee, but Beal's name has not come up in them. This comes after the Commercial-Appeal reported that the Grizzlies have "entertained" an offer that included Beal. A string of denials from Wizards sources soon followed.
It's important to remember a few things when thinking about this rumor and the others that might follow:
- A large percentage trade rumors that leak are ones that are no longer active. In other words: the Wizards could have talked to Memphis about Beal when Beal was struggling, only to pull him off the table once he played much better.
- Trade "offers" can range in formality. Teams bring up players all the time in casual conversations, and those can leak and be presented as "offers." In reality, though, the two teams may never have any intention of making a formal trade with the players they've discussed.
- There's always a reason trade rumors leak. In this case, the Grizzlies have an incentive to make it seem like the asking price for Gay was high, because the only way they deal him now and break up one of the best teams in the league is if they get bowled over with an offer. Otherwise, they'll wait until the offseason. (Note: this also applies to denials).
- If Wizards-Grizzlies discussions are indeed ongoing, you can expect that negotiation to play out in some fashion in the public sphere.
- The Wizards in particular are pretty tight with leaks. When's the last time a Wizards trade happened that was all over the Internet months before it was consummated?