As expected, Bradley Beal is probably heading to free agency
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Washington Wizards star is "very likely" to decline a $36.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season and enter free agency. He's then expected to sign the five-year, $248 million "supermax" contract to stay in Washington.
Last week, Beal told The Athletic's Josh Robbins that he reached a decision on his future plans. However, he didn't reveal those details.
Beal, who turns 29 on Tuesday, averaged 23.2 points and a career-high 6.6 assists in 40 games last season. In January, he underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist.
Beal told Robbins that his wrist "feels great" and his recovery is "ahead of schedule." He'll look to bounce back into the lethal scorer who trailed only Stephen Curry with 31.3 points per game in 2020-21. He also finished second in scoring behind a former MVP (James Harden) the previous season.
The Wizards have finished each of the past four seasons with a losing record, only making the postseason through the 2020-21 play-in tournament. They haven't advanced past the second round during Beal's decade with the team.
With Beal reportedly coming back, they at least have some hope of turning the corner. Meanwhile, taking the supermax would make Beal the NBA's highest-paid player.