We’re less than 24 hours from the start of the NBA Draft, and that’s when the rumors kick in to high gear. However, it’s not often a rumor gets started because of something a player says during the Green Room interviews a day before the draft. That’s just what happened when Bradley Beal told ESPN that several non-lottery teams, most notably the Oklahoma City Thunder, were interested in trading up for him and then his head coach Billy Donovan told Andy Katz that the San Antonio Spurs were among the teams calling about Beal.
“San Antonio, which doesn’t pick until No. 59 in the second round, as well as Atlanta, which does have a first-round pick at No. 23, also made a number of calls to Donovan and Florida in the hope that each team could move up to land Beal. But the source said the teams told Donovan it would have to be the “parting of the red sea” to pull off a move to get up to the top three in the draft.”
Parting of the Red Sea is an accurate way to describe what it would take to get Beal in a Spurs jersey. According to the Washington Post’s Michael Lee, any team trading for the second pick, which is where you’d have to trade to safely assume you’re drafting Beal, will have to take back Tyrus Thomas’ contract. That’s an average of $8.5 million over the next three seasons. That means the Spurs would have to trade Tony Parker (assuming Charlotte wants a 30 year old point, no matter how good he is) or try to convince the Bobcats to part with some package involving Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard and probably Matt Bonner to make the numbers work. I really like Bradley Beal, but either scenario is a tough pill to swallow.
From Charlotte’s perspective, would they even want what San Antonio would offer? Questions surrounding Parker’s eye aside, dealing him and Kawhi Leonard or even him and Tiago Splitter for Beal and Tyrus Thomas seems like not an entirely fair trade. You also have to factor in that Oklahoma City, Atlanta and even the Nuggets, who also have interest in Beal, all have younger prospects for a team in need of a massive rebuilding effort.
Stranger trades have happened, but Bradley Beal in a Spurs uniform seems like a long shot. We don’t even know when the Spurs started making calls about Beal and how far they got. And as someone noted on Twitter, 29 teams in the league probably made at least a call inquiring about what it would take to trade up to get Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson or Harrison Barnes. It’s a long shot, the Spurs know it’s a long shot, but you have to at least make a call, right?