Toronto Raptors: Bradley Beal’s extension ends hopes of a trade

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

With Bradley Beal signing a new extension with the Washington Wizards, the hopes of the Toronto Raptors trading for him are all but gone now.

If the Toronto Raptors wanted to take their roster to the next level this season, they would have to make a splash. It’s something that Masai Ujiri is capable of doing – showing his wherewithal last season to trade for both Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol.

Those trades paid off and the Toronto Raptors hit the big time, winning their first-ever Larry O’Brien trophy in their first appearance in an NBA Finals setting. Repeating that this season, without Leonard, would prove to be a difficult and seemingly impossible task. But it wasn’t out the realms of possibility.

Not if the Raptors decided to relinquish some assets and trade for another star. The problem is, what star?

Kawhi Leonard appeared out of nowhere for the Raptors, despite months of discontent between his camp and the San Antonio Spurs. He fell into Ujiri’s lap, but even then, the front office had to give up DeMar DeRozan in the process. It all worked out, though.

This offseason, there was a time where it looked like the Raptors might actually trade for Anthony Davis, before he ended up with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. After that, the market for stars in distress was a little blank. Trading for Chris Paul wouldn’t move the needle for the Raptors, but someone like Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards certainly would.

To make matters a little more interesting, it was widely considered that Beal wanted out of Washington, and with good reason too. The Wizards have been in turmoil for some time now, losing John Wall to a long-term injury and dropping to a record of 32-50 last season.

Beal carried the team and looked like a star, but with very little around him. With Wall unlikely to play much part in the 2019-20 NBA season, it’s fair to assume that the Wizards might not be that good again. If Beal wanted out, no one would blame him.

Instead, and much to their credit, the Wizards front office inked Beal to a new two-year $72million maximum contract extension, keeping him with the team for at least three more seasons. The deal also includes a player option for the 2022-23 NBA season.

Beal is the Wizards’ best player, even when John Wall is fully healthy. Wall has always been pushed as the Wizards’ top dog, though, and that may have hindered the team’s progress. For now, they can continue to take stock with Beal leading the line.

For the Raptors, however, it all but ends their hopes of trading for – or acquiring – Beal any time soon. It looks like the Wizards front office wants to salvage a relationship with the best player to walk through their door for a number of years, and no one can blame them for doing so – even if the assets that theoretically could have been offered to them might have changed the landscape of the league. Beal was the hottest trade candidate in the league and for good reason.

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Beal joining the Raptors would have most certainly given them one of the best starting lineups in the league and put the NBA on notice that they were ready to repeat. Still, the Raptors have a great team to look forward to this season. Bradley Beal could have just made them better.