Mannix: Why Celtics trading for Bradley Beal is still a possibility


The Bradley Beal-to-Boston talk isn't dead just yet.

If Brad Stevens and the Celtics decide to be buyers at this season's NBA trade deadline, the Washington Wizards star could still be an option. Beal is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season and there's been little buzz about a possible contract extension for the 28-year-old guard.

Forsberg: At a crossroads, roster changes feel inevitable for these C's

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix joined Chris Forsberg and Amina Smith on Monday's Celtics Pregame Live and explained why the C's trading for Beal remains a very real possibility.

"The player -- and I've said this on these airwaves before -- that I would continue to keep my eye on is Bradley Beal," Mannix said. "We are now inching towards that trade deadline. Beal is having one of the worst statistical seasons in his last five or six years. There's still no indication either way if he's going to re-sign a long-term contract with Washington. And if the Wizards aren't certain that he is going to re-sign there, it would be malpractice of them not to seek out the best possible offer for him.

"I'm not saying the Celtics can get him, there will be a lot of teams interested in Bradley Beal if he goes on the block, but that is a situation I'd be keeping a close eye on."

The C's likely would have plenty of competition for Beal's services if the three-time All-Star indeed is dangled in trade talks. Forsberg noted that caveat while providing an idea of what it might take for such a deal to go through.

"It's hard. There's gonna be some steps before that," Forsberg said. "I think the most important thing is finding draft assets or developing young talent that they can then dangle at Washington. You can give them all your future first-round picks, but is that enough for that to move on from a legitimate superstar? But certainly, it's on the table just given the situation they are in.

"I think Brad Stevens has some work to do to get to that point to muscle their way in. It's not like the old days when they had this treasure trove of draft picks. They need to find a way to start developing young talent. Maybe that's just more minutes for Payton (Pritchard) and Aaron Nesmith, but also replenish and maybe Dennis Schroder and the likes of those players can help replenish that."

Beal is averaging 23.3 points per game so far this season, a noticeable regression from his 31.3 ppg in 2020-21. He's shooting 45.6% from the floor through 28 games after shooting 48.5% last year.

Despite those down numbers, there's little doubt Beal would provide a huge boost to the Celtics offense alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. A trade for Beal still seems like a long shot, but don't rule out Tatum playing on the same team as his lifelong friend just yet.

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