Since the 2021 NBA offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers were active on the trade market searching for a trade partner for disgruntled star Ben Simmons. While most people were already expecting the Simmons saga to continue until the 2022 NBA offseason, the Sixers have successfully found a new home for the former No. 1 pick before the All-Star Game. Hours before the 2022 NBA trade deadline, the Sixers have completed a blockbuster trade that sent a trade package centered on Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for All-Star shooting guard James Harden.
NBA Rumors: Sixers 'Worked' On Ben Simmons-Bradley Beal Blockbuster Before Trade Deadline
Sixers Tried To Acquire Bradley Beal
However, Harden wasn't the only superstar that the Sixers pursued on the trade market. During the 2021-22 NBA season, Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that the Sixers "worked" on a trade that would send Simmons to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Bradley Beal.
"The 76ers did their due diligence with the Wizards on Beal throughout the season, but many across the NBA say it was much more than that. Multiple sources said the 76ers worked during the season on a potential trade. Beal faced a decision on whether to force a trade out of Washington and Philadelphia had prominent interest at the deadline if he was cleared to play from his wrist injury. The 76ers’ package would have been centered around Simmons and draft picks, sources said."
Bradley Beal's Fit With Sixers
Had the Sixers-Wizards blockbuster trade pushed through, Beal would have been the one wearing the Sixers' jersey right now and not Harden. In terms of impact on the offensive end of the floor, Beal is almost as good as Harden. He can also score, make plays, and efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc. What could have made him a more intriguing acquisition for the Sixers is his ability to excel in an off-ball capacity, making him an ideal fit alongside a ball-dominant superstar like Joel Embiid.
Why The Trade Didn't Happen?
Aside from the Wizards' unwillingness to make a trade, his injury also played a major role in why the Beal-to-Sixers blockbuster trade didn't happen before the 2022 NBA trade deadline. When he suffered a wrist injury in January, most people believed that he could still return to the court this season. Unfortunately, days before the 2022 NBA trade deadline, the All-Star shooting guard decided to undergo a season-ending wrist injury. In an interview with reporters, Beal said that it would be best for him to "fix it now than worry about it later."
Chasing Bradley Beal In 2022 NBA Offseason
Though they failed to acquire him before the 2022 NBA trade deadline, the Sixers would have the opportunity to pursue Beal again in the 2022 NBA offseason. Beal has a player option in his contract that would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, with the team currently buried deep in the luxury tax hell, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey would need to be creative in their potential pursuit of Beal in the 2022 NBA free agency. Aside from finding a way to dump Tobias Harris' massive salary, the Sixers would also have to engage in a sign-and-trade deal with the Wizards.