Bradley Beal has long maintained that he wants to remain with the team that drafted him, the Washington Wizards. After another middling season, while other teams across the league ramp up to play for championships, it sounds like he’s having second thoughts.
The three-time All-Star was the No. 3 overall pick back in 2012. He’s emerged as one of the NBA’s elite scorers, finishing just shy of Stephen Curry for the scoring crown in 2020-21. He made his first All-NBA team this year, finishing on the third-team.
After Washington’s 34-38, eighth-place finish, it sounds like Beal is now reconsidering where things stand. “He knows he has to make a decision before the draft,” an unnamed source told Bleacher Report, with the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers cited as potential preferred destinations for the star guard. A Beal trade would certainly make waves around the basketball world.
Shams Charania of The Athletic is now reporting similar things on Beal, stating that the Wizards star “has been seriously mulling his future in recent weeks.” The NBA insider says that Beal is “on the fence” about a future with Washington.
“(Bradley) Beal has been seriously mulling his future in recent weeks, and at times has been very much on the fence about whether or not he wants to remain with the Wizards, sources tell The Athletic,” @ShamsCharania writes.
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It has been a big offseason already for the Washington Wizards. The team hired Wes Unseld Jr., the son of a franchise legend, as its new head coach. It is unclear what kind of roster he will inherit.
The All-NBA guard is expected to use the weekend to continue giving his career some thought and could arrive at a decision during the upcoming week. For all teams, planning and preparation entering draft week is important. It heightens the need to allow the Wizards and teams across the league to prepare should Beal have a change of heart on his future. For Beal, this process of mulling his future has taken place over each of the past few summers.
Over the past year, Beal has made clear his hope to stay with the Wizards, but even larger has been his desire to win.
Bradley Beal’s backcourt teammate Russell Westbrook, and his significant salary, has also been the subject of trade rumors. Whether or not they can hang on to Beal, they’d probably like to move off of Westbrook’s $91.2 million owed over the next two years, assuming he opts into his player option for 2022-23.
It could make sense for the Wizards to move Beal if they get a significant return, and give Unseld a true fresh start to rebuild the franchise. We’ll see what kind of return he can fetch though, as he has a player option following 2021-22, and can become a free agent if he so chooses. The Wizards can also sign him to a four-year, $182 million deal this year, or a five-year mega-max deal worth $235 million next summer. Those are some serious options to weigh.