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October Mailbag Part 2: Bradley Beal’s trade value and the supermax

In the second part of our mailbag, we go over questions specifically on the Wizards’ franchise player.

Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal, regardless of his coronavirus vaccine status, is still one of the best players in the NBA.
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Here is the second part of our October mailbag, where we will answer questions regarding Bradley Beal specifically. For the first part, click on the link below.

Would you trade Bradley Beal for Ben Simmons? If yes, what else would you ask from Philly and what would you think they might ask from us? (WarsawKen)

Matt Modderno: Hard no. I find that to be largely nonsensical.

John Heiser: Absolutely not. Teams can work with a guy who needs to get his head set right. They can work with a guy who needs to adjust his game. When you have someone making $30 million per year for four more seasons he better not have BOTH of those issues. Simmons for all his talent seems to have a mental issue on the FT line that affects the rest of his game. Maybe he figures it out. Its not a bet I’m making for this franchise though.

Yanir Rubinstein: Beal is the face of this franchise. At this point, the only way Beal leaves is if he requests to, and even then there is no way Tommy wants a difficult personality in return after finally having gotten rid of an albatross.

John Morrow: I wouldn’t 100% rule out a Beal for Simmons move. If the Wizards are sitting at 15-25 prior to the deadline and Beal has shown discontent more than he is now, it has to be considered. I don’t see how they could acquire Simmons while keeping Rui, Deni and Kuzma so the trade would need to be expanded. I see Simmons’ years left on his deal and him being in his prime as positives and while the Wizards should go for a true rebuild if this year doesn’t work out, I don’t see that happening so there are worse options to turn to than Simmons.

Osman Baig: No. I would trade Beal if the season is going poorly and if Beal doesn’t sign an extension but not for Simmons. The entire situation in Philadelphia is a mess and not one the Wizards should want to be involved in. IF there was to be a trade with the 76ers, I’d ask for Maxey and picks to be included.

Albert: No, I don’t see Simmons being a g. But if the Wizards got Simmons, they would get his playing weaknesses and the drama surrounding his soon-to-be eventual exit from the 76ers.

It is my “schtick” due to the way the news has gone, but it’s also not like Philly would want to deal with Beal being unvaccinated, unless Simmons is unvaccinated against the coronavirus himself. In that case, a Beal for Simmons swap would be a wash in that respect.

Renzo Salao: The answer to this question was a resounding yes during Simmons’ rookie season, then has skewed more towards the opposite end of the spectrum year after year. After Simmons’ latest meltdown during Sixers practice, I’d steer way clear.

Is Beal worth a supermax? Consider the history of Supermax’s in DC (Arenas and Wall) and also consider the fact that Beal isn’t a true superstar and can be a liability on defense, why not move him at the deadline? (KingBigDaddy7th)

Yanir: In vacuum the answer would be no (but still a hefty near supermax contract for sure). But given how difficult it is to attract players to DC, and given his previous loyalty, the answer is now YES in all caps.

Morrow: The supermax isn’t something that should be given out easily. But, I do think signing him to it might be the best way at this point to maximize his trade value.

Renzo: Not all supermax deals are created equal. Maxing out Bradley Beal isn’t as appealing as doing it for the Antetokounmpos and Durants of the world, but we can only work with the All-NBA player that we have. The reality of the situation is that we’re only trading Beal if things go south and he decides that he wants out. Whether that happens this season or after signing his next contract doesn’t change much as far as I’m concerned.

Using Gil and John as points of comparison isn’t really fair given that their deals became rancid because of injuries and not on-court talent. Short of the same bad injury luck *knocks on wood* as his max deal predecessors, if teams want Beal now, they’ll want him all the same when he’s locked up for the rest of his prime.

Modderno: Personally, I wouldn’t want to max out for anyone that isn’t a top-7 or 8 player, which Beal isn’t. But Ted Leonsis and Tommy Sheppard seem committed to this path so it’s kind of irrelevant what we as fans think he’s worth. I always think you’re worth what someone is willing to pay you and Beal will get every dollar they can give him.

Heiser: He’s an All NBA player and right there chasing a scoring title. If he’s not worth it to this franchise he would be to someone else. You don’t want to pay him, many teams would. For all the shade thrown at Ted for being cheap his teams’ fans don’t seem to want to pay going rate for a player of Beal’s caliber. The history of the supermax in DC reasoning also reads like kicked-dog syndrome.

Allow yourself to have nice things. Even if you’re just in it for the trade chip, Brad is worth more under contract for a few more seasons than he is on an expiring contract.

Would most everyone agree that Bradley Beal’s vaccine refusal is likely to cost the team a lot, and should be considered selfish? (Pete Strand)

Heiser: I wouldn’t. We don’t know if Brad is vaccinated or not. We only know he wasn’t eligible for it when he last spoke on the issue. These variants make it so any of our guys could get it. I’m just as worried about the road trips and off days as I am Brad.

Albert: I don’t view Beal’s hesitancy or refusal of getting a vaccine as a selfish thing in and of itself. Ultimately, getting the vaccine or not is his decision and by extension, his family’s, even though I’ll gladly admit that I’m disappointed that he is not vaccinated.

Barring a traditional injury (like a broken bone/ligament), the outcome of this Wizards season will significantly depend on the D.C. government NOT passing a vaccine mandate on indoor sporting events, or that Beal gets vaccinated. I’m guilty of continuing to write on this topic in light of the Kyrie Irving news in Brooklyn, almost as if this is a personal agenda of mine. It isn’t, and I really wish that our local NBA team wouldn’t have be in this situation,.

But the reality is that Washington will be in a worse spot than the Nets right now if such a mandate happens, AND if Beal remains hesitant to take the vaccine. The Nets don’t need Kyrie to remain a top team. The Wizards need Beal to be in the playoff picture.

Albert, Following up on your comment about Beal being ”the most visible unvaccinated player in the NBA, unless he himself received the shot within the last couple weeks”, what are your thoughts on the possibility of Beal being traded and which teams are possible trade partners? (SkullDog)

Albert: First and foremost, I don’t see the Wizards trading Beal this season unless he specifically requests to be traded. But given his vaccination status to this point (he is still apparently unvaccinated), his trade value is also lowered.

That does not mean that other teams don’t want him. He’s clearly being “recruited” by other teams. But in today’s world, given his vaccination status, that means that Washington may not get as much as they otherwise would in a trade.

Given current local mandates in some cities, he won’t be able to play in home games for the Nets (Beal would be in Kyrie’s situation), Knicks, Warriors, Raptors, Lakers or Clippers if he played for them. So let’s count them out.

Among the other teams who could be trade partners, the easiest fit is for Beal to play in the Deep South (teams like the Hawks or Grizzlies) or Midwest/Heartland (teams like the Thunder and Pacers) where many state governments in those regions are pushing back against various vaccine mandates due to political reasons. That said, no laws have been passed to ban such mandates, as far as I know.

But even if Beal were hypothetically traded to a team in these parts of the country, that doesn’t mean the team there would like it. For example, Thunder GM Sam Presti announced last month that their roster was fully vaccinated, so you would assume their roster would be wary of bringing in Beal at this time. That said, the Thunder are clearly rebuilding, so they’re not a realistic trade partner.

Of the teams that are contending and aren’t in NYC, SF, LA or Toronto, perhaps Milwaukee could make a move for him if Beal wanted to leave. Giannis Antetokounmpo has previously called him a “desirable target” though this was last season.

It’s possible that current coronavirus vaccine rules will be moot next season if and when the pandemic subsides. Such news will boost Beal’s value at that time. But for now, there’s little doubt that his value has been hurt for this season since the team picking him up will incur the risks the Wizards do right now.

We have a third part of the mailbag for tomorrow, where we’ll go over some Mystics questions and more.