Bradley Beal will join the Phoenix Suns in a deal that represents the first major trade of the NBA’s off-season, according to reports.
The 2023/23 campaign only came to an end last week, when the Denver Nuggets beat Miami Heat 94-89 to wrap up a commanding 4-1 victory in the Finals, but the trade market moves quickly and the Suns are already set to make a big splash that could really shake things up next campaign.
Beal will join from the Washington Wizards as part of a massive deal that will see Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and a collection of other future second-round picks move the other way.
Beal is said to have waived his contract’s no-trade clause to make the deal happen, and it’s no surprise considering the players he’ll be featuring alongside next season. Beal will star in the Suns’ starting line-up alongside the likes of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, making them an incredible prospect for next season.
Beal broke onto the scene in 2012 and has spent his entire career so far at the Washington Wizards. During his highly successful time with the team, he’s been named an NBA All-Star three times: in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
The signing of Beal is another major coup for the Suns’ owner Mat Ishbia. The businessman bought a majority stake in the team (and Phoenix’s WNBA side, the Phoenix Mercury) in February this year, paying a total of $4 billion for the franchises.
He acted quickly to sign up Durant and TJ Warren from the Brooklyn Nets in the same month, and the acquisition of Beal is another major marker of intent that Ishbia is looking for a tilt at the title in the 23/24 season.
It’s certainly the realisation of a dream Booker expressed five years ago, when he spoke of his desire to be at the centre of a superteam. “Dynasties only last for so long,” he explained in an interview with Yahoo. “I’m not wishing trades upon any of the superteams. I’d like to build a superteam. I’d like the superteam to come to me.”
The creation of this burgeoning superteam may well represent the push the team needs. The Suns have enjoyed impressive seasons in 2021 and 2022, but have just fallen short of ultimate victory in both years.
In 2021, they made it to the NBA Finals, losing 4-2 over six games to the Milwaukee Bucks, while in 2022 they went down 4-3 to the Dallas Mavericks at the Conference semi-finals stage. 2023 brought another frustration as they again lost at the Conference semis stage, this time to eventual winners, the Denver Nuggets.
The acquisition of Beal and his teaming with Durant and Booker gives them hope of getting over the finishing line next season, but it’s not a move without risk. All three players have had injury problems in recent seasons and if they continue to struggle on that front, the Suns could find themselves going for more matches than they’d want without their massively influential star trio.