Best Bradley Beal trade destinations if he waives Suns no-trade clause

Tony Nguyen | Golden State Warriors
May 15, 2024

Bradley Beal’s first season with the Phoenix Suns did not go according to plan. Although his numbers were solid (he averaged 18.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and five assists per game on 51.3/43/81.3 shooting splits), the Suns’ 2023-24 season was turbulent. Beal played only 53 games, and his absences exposed Phoenix’s shortcomings with their depth and roster construction.

Those issues were only exacerbated in their playoff sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves. That series prompted Phoenix to fire head coach Frank Vogel and replace him with Mike Budenholzer. It could also lead to more tweaks with the Suns’ roster. Phoenix can trade two first-round picks at the draft but could also possibly look to dish Beal. That seems unlikely with how hefty his contract is and the fact that he has a no-trade clause. But, if he were to waive that no-trade clause, three teams stand out as good fits for the All-Star guard.

Phoenix Suns guard Bradley Beal (3) pushes the ball up the court during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

No team could use a dynamic scoring guard more than the Orlando Magic. The Magic fought admirably in their first round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers despite being the fifth-youngest team in the NBA this season. They took the Cavs to seven games and Paolo Banchero looked every bit of an alpha that can lead a potential contender. He averaged 27 points, 8.6 rebounds, and four assists per game. Banchero did that while shooting 45.6% from the field, 40% from three, and 75.5% from the free throw line.

The problem for the Magic was that no one else came along for the ride offensively. Jonathan Isaac was the only Orlando rotation player to shoot above 30% from deep during that series. Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs were the only other players outside of Banchero to average more than 10 points per game in the playoffs, but they didn’t do it efficiently. Neither of those two shot better than 41% from the field in those seven games.

Orlando’s offense simply wasn’t good enough against Cleveland. They posted an offensive rating of 104.1 in that series, which ranked 13th among the 16 playoff teams. Their struggles continued from the regular season, where they finished 22nd in offensive efficiency.

Bradley Beal provides everything Orlando needs. He can spread the floor, create on his own, and play off of and together with Banchero. It doesn’t seem likely that he would waive his no trade clause for Orlando, but the pairing would benefit both sides if he did.

Stephen Curry is still at the top of his game even though he is approaching 37 years of age. However, his Splash Brother running mate, Klay Thompson, is not. Thompson posted his lowest points per game average of his career this year since the 2012-13 season. Too often Thompson ran hot and cold this season. That was especially the case during Golden State’s Play-In loss to the Sacramento Kings where he scored 0 points and missed all ten of his shots from the field.

The Warriors are stuck in the middle and spent all season trying to find their way out. They shuffled their lineups and rotation continuously hoping to find a combination that works. That unfortunately never happened. Golden State isn’t good enough to compete for a title as currently constituted but they also can’t offload their franchise icon and embark on a rebuild with no burgeoning star waiting in the wings.

A middle ground might be to trade for a player like Bradley Beal. Beal can fit seamlessly next to Curry and Draymond Green. The Warriors likely wouldn’t have to trade all of their young players like Brandin Podziemski, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody, and Trayce Jackson-Davis in order to make a deal either. A lot would need to happen to make this hypothetical trade feasible, but it at least would make sense.