Wizards’ Bradley Beal reacts to recent Nets trade rumors: ‘I look at it as a sign of respect’

The 2019-20 NBA season may be on hold, but apparently Bradley Beal trade rumors never stop.

With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving already on board for the next few years, the Nets have “internally discussed” ways to acquire the Wizards guard in order to form a “Big Three” in Brooklyn, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. So how does the 26-year-old feel about this latest round of speculation?

“It’s not the first time I’ve heard this kind of talk,” Beal told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. “It’s interesting. To me, I look at it as a sign of respect, that I’ve been doing good things and guys want to play with me. That’s an unbelievable feeling. When you hear that Kyrie and KD want you, s—, that’s amazing.

“At the same time, you don’t know how much there is to it, or how easy it would be to do. And I’ve put down roots in D.C. I’ve dedicated myself to this town, this community. I love it here, and it would feel great to know I could grind out winning here instead of jumping to another team. But I’d be naive to say that I don’t think about it when these stories come up.”

That last part will leave some Wizards fans feeling a bit uneasy, but Beal isn’t ready to go full Anthony Davis and request a trade out of Washington because he wants to play with John Wall again. Wall, a five-time All-Star with the Wizards, is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon and hasn’t taken the floor for an NBA game since December 2018.

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“I want to see him get back to that level where I know he can be, especially since my game has grown so much [while he’s been out],” Beal said. “What can we accomplish together? I’m so happy he’s healthy, working his tail off.”

Prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forcing commissioner Adam Silver to suspend the season, Beal was averaging a career-high 30.5 points per game, second in the league to only Rockets star James Harden (34.4). Beal can operate both on and off the ball, and it’s not difficult to imagine him finding cleaner looks at the basket if he’s surrounded by better players. A Beal-Durant-Irving trio would be a nightmare to defend.

The biggest issue isn’t necessarily how Beal would blend with Brooklyn, though — it’s how the Nets could construct a deal to push the Wizards off their stance of keeping Beal in place. Future first-round picks would likely be involved, plus players like Jarrett Allen, Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert.

Is that enticing enough for the Wizards? Would that leave the Nets too thin at certain positions? Which outside trade suitors could crash the party? (Fire up those Photoshop jerseys, internet folks.)

Beal has previously said he would like to retire a Wizard and noted he “kinda hates” super teams. Perhaps he is truly a different kind of player, one comfortable riding it out with a single franchise. But we’ve seen feelings change when losses pile up. Washington isn’t on track to be a contender anytime soon, and Brooklyn could be a force in the Eastern Conference as soon as next season.

If the Wizards want to avoid a Davis situation, the front office must prove it can construct a competitive roster around Beal. Otherwise those rumors are never going to disappear.

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