This NBA offseason has been marked by near-historic upheaval with more than a dozen All-Stars finding new homes.
Players that reach free agency are almost certainly gone, and players a year from free agency will try to dictate where they can land. This is the era of player empowerment.
But one player who has stayed conspicuously calm about playing on a losing team has been Bradley Beal. Despite the Washington Wizards finishing last season with their worst record since his rookie year in 2012-13, he has not made a fuss about wanting a trade.
The Wizards are thrilled to have a 26-year-old star locked up for the next two seasons. They reportedly would prefer to extend Beal rather than trade him, but that obviously depends on Beal not seeking greener pastures.
According to a report from the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, it’s far from a given that Beal would take the three-year, $111 million extension the Wizards are will eligible to offer him on July 26.
Around the league, however, the extension is not viewed as a done deal, and there is a growing belief that Beal will not remain in Washington for his entire career.
“He’s out of there,” one well-placed person within the NBA predicted.
Beal hasn’t requested a trade to date, but if he doesn’t plan to sign an extension, the Wizards would be far better off trading him now at his highest value than letting him walk like, say, their division rival.
“I’d be naive to say I wouldn’t be [interested in extension talks],” Beal said last month, via the Washington Post. “Washington is where I’ve been the last seven years, going on eight. It would be great to play in one place forever. But at the same time, you want to win and make sure you're in a position to do so. I’m definitely going to evaluate who we hire as the GM and who we pick up on the team. All that plays a factor.”
That last bit is key because it will be tough for the Wizards to build a contender soon, even after Kawhi Leonard bolted for the Western Conference. John Wall’s four years and $170 million remaining on his max deal is the most untradeable asset in the league, and the Wizards’ don’t have a ton of other assets despite their high payroll.
After firing Ernie Grunfeld more than three weeks, the Wizards still don’t have a general manager, and their offseason has been a mixed bag. Unloading Dwight Howard was a welcomed change, but they let young guard Tomas Satoransky go in a sign-and-trade for negligible draft-pick compensation. Without bigger changes, the Wizards could soon be in for some bad news.
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