NBA free agency 2022: Bradley Beal declines option with Wizards, will become free agent

Three-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal has declined the $36.4 million option on his contract for the 2022-23 season with the Washington Wizards, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 10-year veteran is eligible to sign a five-year maximum contract with the Wizards worth close to $250 million or a four-year deal from another team in the $180 million range, both starting at a $43 million salary.

The financial choice seems clear, so long as Washington is willing to pay him his full max. Asked in March if he planned to re-sign with the Wizards, Beal told reporters, "That's fair," and he reiterated that stance to The Washington Post's Ava Wallace last month, even if he is openly enjoying the free-agency recruitment.

Wizards team president Tommy Sheppard similarly expressed confidence that the team will retain Beal.

"I feel every indication he's given me is that he wants to be here moving forward," Sheppard told reporters at the end of this past season. "I stick to the 10 years of confidence I have in the relationship we've had."

Beal averaged 30.9 points (on 47/35/87 shooting splits), 5.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 35.9 minutes per game from 2019-21 before left wrist surgery cost him half of last season. Since he and former backcourt mate John Wall led the Wizards to Game 7 of the 2017 Eastern Conference semifinals, Washington has won three playoff games in two playoff appearances. The Wizards traded the oft-injured Wall in December 2020.

Washington has since paired Beal with a variety of mostly bad contracts and middling prospects. The Wizards traded one-time MVP Russell Westbrook after a first-round playoff exit in 2021 and acquired one-time All-Star Kristaps Porzingis at the deadline in February. The franchise is still waiting on recent first-round picks Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert to develop into a playoff-worthy supporting cast.

That has fueled rumors Beal could leave in free agency or request a trade. Contenders seeking another star have long been linked to Beal, including the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors. His friendship with Celtics star Jayson Tatum has been the source of much speculation, but Beal has pledged loyalty to the team that drafted him third overall in 2012.

Bradley Beal has played for the Washington Wizards since they drafted him third overall in 2012. (Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal has played for the Washington Wizards since they drafted him third overall in 2012. (Justin Ford/Getty Images) (Justin Ford via Getty Images)

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach