Beal could become an offseason free agent
Bradley Beal is, alongside Damian Lillard the most loyal star in the NBA. Multiple contracts have been signed to keep him with the non-contending Washington Wizards team, whose prospects aren’t likely to improve. The Wizards are currently 13-24 after their 10-3 start. With Beal expected to be free of contract this offseason, Beal’s future looks uncertain for the first year in many years.
All reports had suggested that Beal was planning to sign a $51 million, five-year contract with the Wizards in the offseason. The Wizards did not entertain trade offers for their All Star guard. According to The Athletic’s Josh Robbins and David Aldridge , Beal is still a fan of winning in Washington but is now uncertain about his future with The Wizards. Washington currently sits in 12th place within the Eastern Conference. This means that Washington will miss the play-in round Beal said was a ” step forward” for them.
To this point, the Wizards aren’t interested in trading Beal. They prefer to build around Beal, but their first-round pick deficit is due to the Russell Westbrook for-John Wall trade and bad contracts given Spencer Dinwiddie to Davis Bertans, Spencer Dinwiddie , which limit their flexibility in future moves. Aldridge and Robbins both report that Beal did not request a trade.
The possibility that Beal could simply sign with Washington to ask for a trade down is further complicating the situation. This strategy is increasingly popular with NBA stars because it allows them to secure the highest possible salary without risking losing their jobs. Ben Simmons has been trying to follow this path. Robbins and Aldridge both believe that Philadelphia would be interested to swap Simmons-for-Beal, but not with another large piece such as Matisse Thibulle or Tyrese Maxey.
Beal may decide to leave the league in the offseason, but there’s not much cap space. The only teams that have significant cap space are the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. The Wizards are more attractive than any of these teams. Beal could try to negotiate a sign-and trade, but that would require him to spend roughly $60 million and Washington’s cooperation. The Wizards could choose to not participate if they aren’t happy with the offers from other teams. Washington’s Bird Rights would be the only way for Beal to get a max contract if he was unwilling to sign with a cap space team.
Beal has done all he can to help the Wizards become a viable contender. They have not been able to achieve this. He has not indicated that he is giving up on the possibility of that happening, but each loss makes it less likely. He will eventually have to accept the fact that winning most likely means playing elsewhere.