Toronto Raptors have no business in potential Bradley Beal sweepstakes

Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Pascal Siakam (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Bradley Beal remains one of the hottest trade assets on the market right now, whether he likes it or not. That isn’t an avenue the Toronto Raptors should pursue, though.

A little over a year ago, the Toronto Raptors made a franchise-altering move by trading DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a first-round pick for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.

That trade now goes down in folklore, with the Raptors winning their first-ever NBA title behind the efforts of Leonard and a very impressive roster. Unfortunately, both Leonard and Green have both taken their talents across to the sunny climate of Los Angeles, with Leonard joining the Los Angeles Clippers and Green joining the Los Angeles Lakers, respectively.

It’s not often that a star player is on the market. But right now, there could well be another. The Washington Wizards are in a spot of bother. A franchise without direction and on the periphery of the playoffs for the past few seasons, a change could well be on the horizon.

Starting point guard John Wall was more or less ruled out of the 2019-20 season, according to Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis. That means Bradley Beal is left as the star player on the team for the year.

The Wizards look all but set to offer Beal a max extension in the coming weeks, but whether or not he decides to sign it is ultimately down to him. With two years left on a five-year $127million contract, Beal could still become a highly valuable, and tradeable, asset for the Wizards if he opts against re-signing with the team.

Every team in the league would be interested in trading for Beal if he became available. He’s one of the best shooting guards in the league, capable of taking over a game at a moments notice. Beal averaged career-highs all across the board, posting 25.6 points, five rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, shooting 47-percent from the field and 35-percent from three.

On the right team, Beal could do wonders. Unfortunately, that team is not the Toronto Raptors. Sure, Beal would improve the Raptors starting lineup. He’s an instant upgrade over Norman Powell without a doubt. A lot is riding on that trade working, though.

Firstly, the amount of tradeable assets that the Raptors can give away while remaining competitive is dwindling.  Beal, while not a player in the stratosphere of Kawhi Leonard, is still a star. He’s also a star that hasn’t publicly become embroiled in a nasty dispute with his team. As far as we are aware, everything is amicable and Beal has no intentions of leaving. But who knows?

That instantly raises the price of Beal, if the Wizards have no reason to flip their most premium asset then why would they sell him on the cheap. Teams won’t be able to hold the Wizards over a barrel and get Beal on the relatively cheap like the Raptors did with Kawhi Leonard. Those deals are once in a lifetime.

The Raptors, or any other team in the league, would need to give up a king’s ransom to acquire Beal. That’s fine if you have the assets to do so while maintaining a winning core. But Toronto would likely need to include a player like Pascal Siakam to even get the Wizards attention.

That price is far too high for a team that doesn’t have a bonafide superstar on the roster. You can argue that Siakam is the best player on the Raptors roster right now, or that he’s maybe just behind Kyle Lowry at the moment.

As good as both players are, Beal isn’t good enough to change the Raptors from playoff contenders to a team fully prepared to defend its crown. He moves the needle, but if the plan is to be better than the Philadelphia 76ers, it’s going to take much more than that.

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The amount of depth the Raptors would have to give up could harm them. It’s likely that one of Marc Gasol or Serge Ibaka would have to be included in the deal, as well as a mountain of draft capital. It’s just too much to justify for a team that could top out at 50 wins this season.