Are The Phoenix Suns Closer To A Championship With The Addition Of Bradley Beal?

The Phoenix Suns made the first major move of the offseason when trading the future Hall of Famer Chris Paul, role player Landry Shamet and multiple picks to the Washington Wizards for their star Bradley Beal. Adding a third proven scorer on a max wage, while gutting further the already minuscule depth is seen as a desperate move from Phoenix’s new owner Max Ishbia in search of a NBA title now. Are the Suns closer to becoming major title contenders with Paul out of Phoenix and Beal arriving?

Phoenix Suns
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA
Photo by Icon Sport

What does Bradley Beal bring to the Phoenix Suns?

Bradley Beal has a very limited playoff experience and he’s likely to have to adjust his mentality after being the primary option in Washington for 7 years. Beal is expected to be the third option in attack in Phoenix and his numbers are certain to decline.

Still, Beal is a proven scorer that averaged 25.5 PPG (47%FG and 36.3 3P%) over the last 7 years as a primary scorer for the Wizards. He’s a player capable to create his own shot but is also very good in catch-and-shoot situations. We expect his numbers to drop after this trade and still Beal is capable of averaging 18-20 points per game even as the third option in attack.

The other major thing Beal brings with him to Phoenix is his contract. With 4 years left on his max contract, Beal will have the fifth-largest salary in the entire NBA in 2023-24. This is a huge burden for the Suns, who had an awful depth even before this trade.

Who will operate as a primary point guard now Chris Paul is gone?

Now Chris Paul has been sacrificed to bring Beal over the Suns find themselves without a reliable point guard. Devin Booker did pretty well in the role while Paul was out injured last season. Books averaged 7.2 assists per game when he was the primary ball handler. This, plus the lack of flexibility to add pieces to the current roster, suggests that Booker will have a new role next season and he will become the main point guard of the Suns.

What is Phoenix Sun’s salary situation right now?

After this trade, the Phoenix Suns look in a very difficult situation regarding their cap space with 4 players on max contracts in their current roster. For the 2023-24 season, only the wages of Beal, Durant, Booker and Ayton will combine to $163 million, which will automatically put Phoenix into the luxury tax and ban them from signing any new free agents, apart from players on veteran’s minimum. The Suns can still resign their own free agents but apart from that they look restricted and are currently the only team in the entire NBA with 4 players on max contracts in their roster.

Clearly, the Suns will try and shift Ayton to improve the squad. This means that further trading activity on their part can be expected. However, as things stand right now the trade to bring Beal over doesn’t look like the smartest move and hardly addresses the main issues Phoenix had last season – lack of two-way-role players, lack of bench depth and lack of health.

Are the Suns closer to the title with this new-look roster?

Despite the Bradley Beal trade making the headlines we don’t think it moves the Suns closer to an NBA title. If anything, we think this move only compounds the issues that Phoenix had last season and removes the little flexibility they had as a team to trade for better role players.

Between them, Beal, Durant and Booker have played in only 61% of matches over the last 2 seasons. All 3 stars are prone to injuries. Considering Phoenix’s huge lack of depth a serious injury to even one of those three could derail the entire season.

We think the Suns still lack team defence, rebounding and athleticism. That’s why we don’t see the Suns as proper title contenders. However, with Ayton still possibly moved out Phoenix might somehow find a way to add some depth and role-players to their roster. Could that change our opinion about their title chances? Unlikely!

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About the author


Iskra had a promising, at least she believed so, tennis and volleyball careers as a junior but a series of injuries ended her hopes to become a professional athlete very early.

Instead, she focused all her energy on her other passion, writing. For over a decade, Iskra had been a freelance sports writer. Football, basketball and tennis are the main fields of her expertise.