It seems the Suns are the clear winners of this trade, but John Hollinger of The Athletic feels the Wizards have gotten the better end of the deal.
For one, he wrote that the Suns will be slammed against a salary cap that is about to become even more restrictive, which could prevent them from filling out the rest of their team.
“In perhaps the ultimate irony, a Suns team that for years suffered under one of the league’s cheapest owners will now be penalized for the profligacy of the new one,” wrote Hollinger. “In the absence of a dramatic [Deandre] Ayton transaction this offseason, the Suns are looking at being into the second tax apron for at least the next three years, resulting in a ‘jailed’ future draft pick situation and virtually no flexibility to add players beyond minimum contracts.”
They will now boast Beal, a three-time All-Star, future Hall of Famer Kevin Durant and arguably the league’s best one-on-one player in Devin Booker.
But they already lacked depth after trading for Durant in February, and the Beal trade will deplete their depth even more.
In addition, Hollinger, who used to work in the front office of the Memphis Grizzlies, feels the Wizards are clearing their financial books and can now move forward with a clean slate.
“As for Washington, it’s a bittersweet victory,” he wrote. “Finally, there seems to be a grander vision in D.C. than aspiring to averageness.”
Beal has four years left on his contract, and his pay will increase from $46.7 million this season to a whopping $57.1 million in the 2026-27 season, should he choose to accept his player option for that season.
A few months ago, the Wizards traded forward Rui Hachimura, who is about to become a restricted free agent, and another impending free agent, forward Kyle Kuzma, is expected by some to leave the team.
As far as Phoenix is concerned, it will also have to figure out how to get solid, consistent production from the point guard spot. But perhaps its biggest concern will be on the defensive end.
It doesn’t really have any elite defensive stoppers on its roster, and it cannot rely on winning games 135-130 in order to compete for an NBA championship.
The Suns are hoping that the hiring of new head coach Frank Vogel, a noted defensive guru who guided the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA title, will get their new-look roster to defend at a high enough level this season.