With the trade deadline less than a month away, speculation about who is on the block and for whom will grow more intense. One name from the Wizards who will be mentioned because of his value is Bradley Beal, who was named to the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend for the second consecutive season.
Beal has had a trying season because of a recurring stress injury, in a different location on the same bone in his lower right leg, but is averaging 17 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists despite missing nine games and playing under a 30-minute restriction since mid-December.
No matter what materializes between now and Feb. 20 -- and there'll be plenty of rumors -- rest assured that Beal won't be part of any deals unless the player the Wizards are getting in return is LeBron James or someone of his caliber. Any usage of Beal's name in a trade scenario is a non-starter for Washington as it should be.
The reason is simple. Beal is just that, a rising star in his second season and just 20 years old and proving to be the type of clutch player the Wizards crave, without the off-court drama and just-give-me-the-damn-ball/diva-like attitude.
Besides, what would be the logic in breaking up what will be an All-Star backcourt? John Wall signed a five-year, $80 million extension in the offseason that will kick in 2014-15 and he'll officially be named as an All-Star reserve by league coaches Thursday for the Feb. 16 showcase in New Orleans. He has been better than Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), who was named the starting point guard in a popular vote by fans.
Provided Beal stays healthy, he'll be joining Wall there next season. Beal still is on his rookie scale contract, which means he's affordable right now, and is so good that USA Basketball recently extended the 6-5 shooting guard an invitation to train and compete for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.
How many teams will be able to say they have a young backcourt of this caliber? The Golden State Warriors are set with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Phoenix Suns have Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.
So there's no need in entertaining any what-if scenarios. It's fun yet pointless. The toughest part of the rebuild for the Wizards is over. They got it right with the backcourt, in a game that relies more and more on perimeter play, and with the team as it is currently constructed is playoff-bound.
A No. 4 or 5 seed in the Eastern Conference postseason is a reasonable goal and a winnable first-round series. Who knows what happens this summer when so many players become free agents such as Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza. The Wizards realize that this class is unspectacular and they'll be better off trying to re-sign their own.
The core of the team, with Beal alongside Wall, Nene and Martell Webster, is secure. Blowing that up to make a lateral move with Beal would not only be foolish but create uncertainty for a franchise that yearns for stability.