Bradley Beal and Chris Paul Jan 11, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) dribbles the ball behind his back to avoid Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) in the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards sent shockwaves through the NBA world Sunday with a trade involving Chris Paul and Bradley Beal.

The trade also launched the NBA’s latest conspiracy theory.

Most analysts and fans believe the Suns got the better end of the trade, landing the 29-year-old Beal, a three-time All-Star, in exchange for Paul, who is 38 and no longer the CP3 who earned 12 All-Star nods. The deal, which has not been finalized, also involves Suns guard Landry Shamet and multiple draft pick and position swaps.

Many Wizards fans immediately questioned why their team did not get more in exchange for Beal. That inevitably led to a conspiracy theory.

Like all good conspiracy theories these days, this one began on social media, with various posts pointing out that Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, is the father of Suns CEO Josh Bartelstein.

Now obviously, there is a critical third party standing between the Bartelsteins, as the Wizards had to sign off on the deal. They’re the ones who approved the no-trade clause that Beal waived to allow the trade.  That should be enough to shoot down any claim that the father-son duo engaged in a word that begins with “C” and rhymes with “Illusion.”

Even if Mark Bartelstein told Wizards officials Beal wanted to be traded to the Suns … or else, isn’t he just fulfilling his duties to his client?

NBA fans haven’t had a good conspiracy theory to debate since the league allegedly rigged the playoffs for the Denver Nuggets to win, which was the first conspiracy since the NBA allegedly “fixed” the draft lottery so the San Antonio Spurs could land the No. 1 pick.

Now, we have the Bartelstein theory, which is keeping fans entertained until the next conspiracy surfaces. And the fans didn’t let the facts get in the way of the narrative.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.