Celtics

Bradley Beal reportedly opts to stay with the Wizards. What does that mean for the Celtics?

Speculation ran rampant that the Celtics might try to acquire Beal, Jayson Tatum's close friend.

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal has opted to stay with the Wizards. What does that mean for the Celtics? AP Photo/John Locher

The Celtics reportedly were one of the teams to whom Wizards guard Bradley Beal would welcome a trade, but according to Marcus Thompson of the Athletic, Beal will stay with the Wizards for the time being.

Shams Charania of Stadium/The Athletic later reported Beal has no interest in leaving the Wizards “right now.”

Beal had reportedly been mulling a trade request from the Wizards, who are not built to contend for a championship in the near future. Last season, he averaged 31.3 points per game — the second season in a row in which he topped 30 points per game.

Beyond Beal’s scoring, the Celtics have a second compelling reason to be interested in acquiring the three-time All-Star: He and Jayson Tatum grew up together in St. Louis and were close childhood friends. Both players are openly excited whenever they have a chance to play together, and Tatum even added fuel to the fire by posting a shamrock on Instagram under a recent graphic about Beal’s potential departure from Washington.

Tatum and Beal were expected to play together for Team USA in Tokyo, but Beal had to leave the Olympics due to COVID-19.

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“[Beal] was the mentor/older brother that I didn’t technically have in-house, somebody that just accomplished everything that I was trying to do,” Tatum said. “I’ve seen how to do it firsthand.

“We just want the extreme best for each other and just two guys that play at a very high level that always are pushing each other. He scores 50 or something, I’m trying to do it and vice versa. That’s just kind of the relationship we have.”

Whether Beal will remain with the Wizards long-term is still unclear. He is an unrestricted free agent after this season, and plenty of teams will want him. If the Wizards struggle during the season, he might revisit his trade request.

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The Celtics would obviously prefer to acquire Beal without giving up Jaylen Brown, but they have few valuable draft assets at this stage. While several of their young players showed promise last year, Beal would command a higher return on the open market.

If Beal — whose pending free agency might scare off some suitors — makes it clear that the Celtics are one of a few teams he would be willing to join, the path could clarify. That scenario would benefit both the Celtics (and Beal) greatly — a core of Tatum, Brown and Beal would look a lot like a contender, even without any future assets. Doing so would require Beal to burn some bridges, however, which seems out of character.

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In any case, Beal has not requested a trade, which gives the Celtics a chance to regroup. Keeping Brown will likely be a priority, but if they can do so while keeping Beal, the result will be intriguing.

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