NBA

Report: Suns near trade for Beal, Paul to go to Wizards

By Sports Desk June 18, 2023

The Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards are close to completing a blockbuster trade that will send three-time All-Star Bradley Beal to Phoenix and veteran guard Chris Paul to Washington, ESPN reported Sunday.

Washington will also acquire guard Landry Shamet and multiple second-round picks, and the deal is also expected to include a swap of draft picks.

Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed to ESPN that the teams have a framework for a trade in place and his client will waive his no-trade clause.

"This was an extremely complicated process with so many different hurdles to get through, and [Wizards owner] Ted Leonsis and [Wizards president] Michael Winger were unbelievable partners in making this happen," Bartelstein said. 

After missing the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, Beal now joins a star-laden Suns squad that figures to be among the preseason favourites in the Western Conference. The move gives Phoenix three of the league's 10 players to average 23 or more points per game in each of the last five seasons in Beal, Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

Beal had spent his entire 11-year career with the Wizards, who selected the former University of Florida star with the third overall pick of the 2012 draft, and had shown great loyalty to a franchise that has failed to get past the first round of the playoffs in six consecutive seasons. He re-signed with Washington on a five-year, $251 million max contract last summer.

But with Beal turning 30 later this month and the Wizards coming off a 12th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, the sharpshooter had become more open to a trade.

"From the day that Ted drafted Brad he has been by our side along with [former general managers] Ernie Grunfeld and Tommy Sheppard.," Bartelstein told ESPN. "They've always had Brad's back in every way, and now we have experienced the exact same thing with Ted and Michael Winger. We are extremely grateful."

Beal has averaged 23.2 points per game in each of the past two seasons but has been slowed by injuries in both, as he played in just 40 games in 2021-22 and 50 last season. He shot a career-high 50.6 per cent from the field in 2022-23, however, and is a career 37.2 per cent shooter from 3-point range who has averaged 22.1 points in 695 overall games.

It's unclear if the rebuilding Wizards intend to keep Paul. The 38-year-old's $30.8 million salary for 2023-24 is partially guaranteed, and ESPN reported it's possible the proposed trade could include a third team that would send Paul to a contender.

Shamet, a 38.8 per cent career 3-point shooter who has averaged 8.9 points per game over five NBA seasons, just completed the first season of a four-year, $42.5 million extension - though the final two years of that deal are non-guaranteed.

 

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