Could Bradley Beal become the Warriors’ needed sidekick for Steph Curry?

Read more at www.sfchronicle.com

Bradley Beal seemingly never escapes the speculation about whom the Warriors could add to maximize the primes of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

A package of James Wiseman, the Nos. 7 and 14 picks, and Andrew Wiggins’ contract could possibly be part of a deal to land an immediate impact player such as Beal, who is currently in Las Vegas training with Team USA alongside Green and assistant coach Steve Kerr.

How much recruiting will actually happen during that two-week camp before leaving for Tokyo?

“Probably, a lot. I don’t know,” Beal said Wednesday after a second day of workouts. “It depends on who is a free agent or not, but we can’t mix that in right now. We’re focused on one goal at hand, and that’s bringing back the gold medal.

“We all have our respective individual goals and talents, and once this is done, we can adjust those issues then.”

Beal is not a free agent, but he likely will become one soon. None of them free agents at the time, Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade famously joined forces in the NBA after strengthening their relationships with Team USA.

Due to make $34.5 million in 2021-22, Beal is expected to opt out of $37.3 million for 2022-23 with the Washington Wizards, who have not been to the conference finals since 1979 and are again searching for a new head coach on a consistently middling franchise.

Beal is eligible for a four-year extension that could start in the $40.5 million range with Washington, or he could become an unrestricted free agent in 2022. Even quicker, he could choose his own destination: playing with the Warriors’ stars, his childhood friend Jayson Tatum in Boston or other scenarios.

Having just turned the NBA prime, 28 years old, last month, Beal was second to Curry in scoring — missing his first title by 0.68 points per game. The 6-foot-3, 207-pounder has proven equally effective playing alongside ball-dominant John Wall and Russell Westbrook, so there would seemingly be enough shots to go around for Curry and Thompson, and Green loves sharing.

“He is hard to keep up with, whether he’s coming off back-picks or running a pick-and-roll. His balance and movement both are very impressive. He stops on a dime, can pull up and shoot the shot, he shoots the 3, and he can back cut and leave you in the dust,” Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said of Beal. “His movement really informs his shooting, if you think about the space that he creates because of his stop-start, stop-start and ability to catch, go up and knock down the shot.”

Even with Thompson expected to return from an Achilles injury, the Warriors are surprisingly lacking players who can create their own shot — or even, make an open shot. They spent all of 2020-21 trying to find a pressure valve for Curry.

Instead, opponents regularly double- and triple-teamed him and laughed as the Warriors’ sidekicks clanked shots.

Beal could be a natural solution to that problem. One of the more logical proposals bandied about during last month’s scouting combine netted the Warriors Beal and Avery Bradley in a three-team deal that sends Wiseman and the Nos. 7 and 14 picks to Houston, while Washington gets the No. 2 choice and Wiggins.

Three weeks into his coaching search, which reportedly now has been whittled to Darvin Ham, Charles Lee, Jamahl Mosley and Wes Unseld Jr., Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard has publicly eschewed any trade suggestions for Beal.

But, it’s Beal’s decision, ultimately.

He hasn’t re-upped his contract with Washington and sold his 12,000 square-foot mansion in Virginia in August. Plus, it sounds as if he’s having a lot of fun playing with Kevin Durant, Green, Damian Lillard and Tatum.

“We kind of just free-flow,” Beal said. “Everyone is interchangeable, and everyone has free rein to be aggressive. We obviously have to understand that there’s only one basketball, but at the same time, everyone is unselfish. Sometimes, we’re too unselfish. We understand who is on the floor with us, so we don’t have to work hard to get a shot off or do everything on our own. …

“I want to defend. I want to be one of the best defenders on the team. Everybody can score. Everybody can give us 30 or 40. I want to be the guy who goes out and guards and gets after it.”

Rusty Simmons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @Rusty_SFChron

Read more at www.sfchronicle.com

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button