Should the 76ers Go All in on Bradley Beal This Offseason?

Bradley Beal
LOS, CA – DECEMBER 01: Washington Wizards Guard Bradley Beal (3) argues with a call during a NBA game between the Washington Wizards and the Los Angeles Clippers on December 1, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

As the 76ers head toward the final stretch of the season and into the playoffs, they have a chance to compete for a championship. Even with a stacked Eastern Conference, Philadelphia can be the last team standing if their two superstars shine. The Sixers acquired James Harden in exchange for disgruntled star Ben Simmons to pair him with Joel Embiid and to set the team up to compete for the next few years.

After the trade was completed for Harden, reports surfaced surrounding the Sixers’ interest and attempt to acquire Washington Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal before the trade deadline passed. There were also reports that Joel Embiid preferred to play with Bradley Beal and pushed the 76ers to make a deal for the guard before he was ruled out for the season due to wrist surgery.

Former NBA player Andrew Bogut mentioned on his podcast that there are rumors in NBA circles that Beal may be interested in making his way to Philly in free agency this summer to form a “big three” with Embiid and Harden. Should Philly go all-in on Bradley Beal? If So, How could they get it done?

What Would It Cost?

Bradley Beal is eligible to sign a 5-year, $246 million contract if he were to re-sign with the Washington Wizards. If Beal chose to sign with another team, he would be eligible to sign a 4-year, $179 million contract. In Beal’s case, if he wanted to sign with Philadelphia, he would more than likely want to execute a sign and trade. 

The 76ers’ main priority this offseason would be resigning James Harden, who didn’t opt into his player option this season. It has been rumored that Harden would take less than his possible maximum amount if the Sixers could pull off a move to get another star. In addition to re-signing Harden, Daryl Morey and Elton Brand would have to do some cap gymnastics to create the space for Bradley Beal. 

How Could the 76ers Get it Done?

There are two potential paths to acquiring Beal. The first potential path would be to clear as much cap space as possible.

The Free Agency Route

The first thing they would have to do is renounce all free agents and clear the cap of any non-guaranteed deals. Releasing/not re-signing Danny Green, Shake Milton, Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed, and Charles Bassey could create up to almost $19 million dollars in cap space. 

Next, the 76ers would have to trade Tobias Harris into a team projected to have near-maximum cap space to absorb his contract. Harris is scheduled to make $37.6 million, and the only teams that are projected to have anywhere near max space would include Detroit, Orlando, Indiana, Portland, and San Antonio. The 76ers would likely have to pay a premium of a few draft picks or pick swaps to entice a team to take on Harris. If Daryl Morey was able to accomplish those moves, he could open up nearly $56 million in cap space. This could allow the Sixers to sign Beal outright or through sign and trade and also re-sign Harden if both or one of the players takes a little less than the max.

The Trade Route

The second path to acquiring Beal would be through a sign-and-trade and trading some of the current players on the roster and picks as compensation for Beal. If Beal came to Washington and advised them that he was going to leave and wanted to play for the 76ers, it could give the Wizards an opportunity to get something back for Beal and not lose him for nothing. A potential deal that the Sixers would like to offer could look like this:

Sixers Receive:Wizards Receive:
Bradley BealTobias Harris
Matisse Thybulle
2028 First Round Pick

The Wizards however would more than likely prefer a package that included up-and-coming guard Tyrese Maxey:

Sixers Receive:Wizards Receive:
Bradley BealTobias Harris
Tyrese Maxey

The Verdict

If Bradley Beal truly wants to come to Philadelphia, the Sixers should do whatever it takes to make it happen outside of trading Tyrese Maxey. Maxey is a true rising star and has made a tremendous leap between his first and second seasons. One can only believe he will continue to grow and has the potential to be an all-star next to Embiid and Harden.

Not to mention, if the 76ers were able to acquire Beal, free agents might consider coming to Philadelphia with the hopes of winning a championship. Some NBA players/veterans could be interested in taking less money to play for a real possibility of playing for a championship. If you have a roster that includes Embiid, Harden, Beal, and Maxey, you start with that and worry about rounding the roster out later. Having that much talent can make for one of the best offenses ever.

However, if the 76ers could only acquire Beal by trading Tyrese Maxey, they should immediately walk away. Maxey has played his way into the untouchable territory for this team.