Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Bradley Beal keeping options open for impending free agency: ‘You have to be selfish at some point’

Everything the Washington Wizards do between now and July will be geared toward trying to convince Bradley Beal to re-sign on a new supermax contract. The three-time NBA All-Star is headed toward free agency, and with the Wizards slumping, he’s keeping his options open. While his goal is still to win in Washington, he told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes on Wednesday that the Wizards still need to prove to him that he belongs in Washington. 

“I got time,” Beal said. “I kind of hold the cards right now, and No. 1, I’ve never been in this position. So I’m kind of embracing that, being able to, OK, kind of dictate how I want my future to be and where I want it to be. At the same time, I’m giving Shep [Tommy Sheppard] that opportunity to show that it’s working. But at the same time, I’m not gonna make that grand commitment and it doesn’t work. 

“Ultimately you have to be selfish at some point, and for probably the first time in my career, Year 10 I am, my full commitment is to the team,” Beal continued. “I want it to work. I’ve contributed to being here. I’ve committed to being here twice. So now I want to see that commitment to me as well, you know that we can create a winning team and a winning environment, and granted, I’m a part of that. So I’ve gotta make sure that I’m stepping up and doing my thing as well.”

The Wizards started the season 10-3, but have gone just 4-8 since. They have not won a playoff series since 2017, and in a deeper Eastern Conference, just making it into the top eight is no given. If the Wizards are going to convince him that he can win in Washington, they have a long way to go. At the moment, his primary motivation for remaining in D.C. appears to be financial. 

Beal, as a 10-year veteran, will be eligible to earn 35 percent of the salary cap wherever he signs next season. However, the Wizards can give him a five-year deal whereas any other team would be limited to four years. Washington would also be able to give him eight percent raises annually rather than the five percent other teams could offer him. Those differences are substantial for a player making as much as Beal, but perhaps more importantly, there just aren’t many teams projected to have cap space this offseason. Beal would almost certainly have to engineer a sign-and-trade to get to a new home, and that would require Washington’s cooperation. 

Right now, the Wizards are locked in on retaining Beal rather than dealing him, but their star shooting guard made it clear Wednesday that they have to hold up their end of the bargain if they hope to do so. The Wizards have to prove that they can win at a high level, and right now, it isn’t clear if they’re going to be capable of doing that. 

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