Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal has a big decision to make this summer. Assuming he declines his player option for next season, he will become one of the biggest names on the free-agent market and could leave the only team he’s ever known.
Speaking to Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report earlier this week, Beal offered some insight into his plans.
“Obviously, I consider my family,” Beal said. “What do they wanna do? Where do they wanna live? What are they comfortable with? And, obviously, the team. So, it is surreal in a lot of ways to be in the position I am in. It is crazy numbers. It is what it is. It’s uncontrollable. It’s out of my control. But I’m blessed to be here. Again, I don’t shy away from that. I take it on with a full front and I have to do what’s best for me. There is a little anxiety because I have to make the decision and time is counting down. We’re in June now. But it’s fun to be in this position.”
“I know what my decision will be based off of, and that’s gonna be where I feel like I can win. That’s going to be my decision. If I feel like I can win in DC, that’s what I’m gonna do. I want people to respect that.”
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Beal, now 29, has been with the Wizards since 2012 when he was the No. 3 overall pick. He’s made three All-Star Games and has one All-NBA appearance during his tenure, and has become one of the best pure scorers in the league. But aside from a few decent runs early on when John Wall was still healthy and on the team, Beal has experienced little playoff success.
He’s played in just 45 total postseason games, and has never been past the second round. Given the Wizards’ current situation, that’s unlikely to change any time soon. The team finished 35-47 last season and failed to even make the play-in tournament. Even if they can get into the playoffs with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis at the trade deadline and the No. 10 overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft, the Wizards aren’t in a position to challenge at the top of the Eastern Conference any time soon.
Leaving to try and chase a title would be an understandable career move at this point, and if Beal does choose to move on he’ll have no shortage of suitors — though the number of teams with the requisite cap space to give him the deal he’ll be looking for isn’t very long.
Beal has always been comfortable in DC, however, and it won’t be easy to say goodbye. He has never pushed for a trade, even when he was the subject of constant speculation, and told reporters earlier this year that he’s leaning towards re-signing with the Wizards. It’s worth noting, of course, that Beal could also get more money if he stays — five years and $248 million, to be exact.
Depending on how things go next month when free agency gets underway, Beal could be one of the most fascinating situations, or there could be very little to talk about. Either way, this is a situation to monitor until we get some more information.