Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 13.1
To Wizards: SG Gary Harris, PF Paul Millsap, 2019 2nd Rounder via WAS
To Denver: SG Bradley Beal, C Ian Mahinmi
With the Nuggets leading the West, the only move for them at the deadline if they don't stand pat is to turn good into great. Making the move for Beal turns a strength of their starting five - Gary Harris - into an elite piece in Beal. There are a number of teams no doubt looking at Beal, so why would this be the package to pry him loose? A few reasons:
First, they get back a darn good player in Harris, who's only 24, is hitting his prime, and as far as NBA contracts go, is under a very reasonable deal that will only top out at $20 million in the '21-22 season when Harris will be 28. There's no chance it turns into an albatross deal, and with Harris as more of a focal point than just another piece, he has a chance to become a legit 20 point per game scorer for Washington.
Second, they get out from underneath the abysmal Ian Mahinmi deal, turning him into a still-good (if overpaid) Paul Millsap, who they can exercise a team option on, or clear off their books at the end of the season -- that's a huge piece for Washington. As rocky as this season has been, the Wiz are only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot in the mediocre Eastern conference. Landing two plug-and-play starters -- really good ones at that -- might catapult them into the postseason.
But if it doesn’t, and Washington tumbles down the standings, regaining their second round pick is crucial -- it'll be high in the second, so it can be used on someone with similar abilities to a late first-rounder, just without the restraints of the first round pay scale.
As valuable as all those pieces are for Denver, they're willing to pay more and get the best player in Beal, who will absolutely take another leap with Nikola Jokic facilitating action instead of John Wall. Pairing Beal with Jamal Murray would give the Nuggets two players who can spread the floor (both are lifetime 35%+ shooters from downtown) play-make (they're averaging 4.8 and 5.0 assists respectively) and be the offensive focal point of an offense: Murray famously put up 48 versus the Celtics earlier in the season, and Beal has topped 50 in the recent past.
Between Jokic, Murray, and Beal, the Nuggets would be very difficult to defend: any could go off at any moment in a playoff game, and with Beal being the oldest of the three at 25, provide a dynamic core moving forward.