As the NBA offseason begins, the stove is already boiling hot and the Wizards now find themselves right in the thick of it.
On Tuesday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Washington has been in talks with the Houston Rockets to potentially trade John Wall for former MVP Russell Westbrook. That would mean the Wizards would work with Westbrook and Bradley Beal as their dynamic duo for the 2020-21 season.
Interestingly enough, this wouldn’t be the first time the two were on the cusp of becoming teammates.
Back on draft day in 2012, Beal sat in the green room waiting for his name to be called. The assumption was that he was going to go No. 2 overall to the Charlotte Bobcats or No. 3 to the Wizards, being that they were the main teams he talked to. Yet, as the night began, he got some different information that tied him to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“We’re sitting in the draft room, sure enough, my agent taps me, he’s like ‘It’s possible you might go to OKC,'” Beal said on a May episode of All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
The news caught Beal completely off guard. Oklahoma City was picking No. 28 and there was no way he was dropping that far. It turns out, his chance of going to the Thunder would have come through a draft day trade involving James Harden.
“The deal was to trade James to Washington, right…They were going to trade up to two or three, get me, trade James to Washington for me,” Beal said. “I would have been in OKC with KD [Kevin Durant] and Russ [Westbrook].”
That’s right. On June 28, 2012 — Beal’s 19th birthday — the shooting guard was almost a part of a trade that would have changed the makeup of the NBA for years to come. Harden at the time had not yet established himself as the dominant scorer he is now, but it’s a move that would have changed the course of potentially multiple teams.
As Beal noted, it would have meant beginning his career alongside Westbrook and Durant. The deal, obviously, fell through and he blossomed into a star in Washington.
The two did end up sharing the court as teammates once in 2018 as members of “Team LeBron” during the All-Star game.
Now, however, it appears that there is at least a dialogue that links the two together once again. Eight years from nearly becoming teammates, the pairing is once again on the table.