A month ago when Bradley Beal was lost to season-ending wrist surgery, many wondered if the 28-year-old had played his final game as a Wizard.
A three-time All-Star and the NBA’s second-leading scorer last season (career-high 31.3 points per game), Beal will have the summer to ruminate, though based on Thursday’s remarks, that decision may have already been made.
“It’s fair,” said Beal when asked if he was “leaning” toward staying with the Wizards, the team he’s spent his entire 10-year career with. Already the Wizards’ all-time leader in three-pointers (1,434), Beal is closing in on Elvin Hayes for the most points in franchise history, a mark he could reach as soon as next season.
While Beal has often been the subject of trade rumors, the former third overall pick knows his best bet, at least financially, is to stay with Washington. In the likely event of Beal declining his $36.4-million player option for 2023, he’d be eligible for a “super-max” extension paying up to $246 million. That would eclipse the record $228-million contract Giannis Antetokounmpo signed with Milwaukee in 2020. Per Forbes, the most another team could offer Beal is $179.1 million over four seasons.
The Wizards are a fringe playoff team for the moment (they trail Atlanta by a game for the final play-in spot), though if Washington runs it back with Beal, Kristaps Porzingis (acquired from Dallas at last month’s trade deadline) and Kyle Kuzma next season, they could be a team to watch in the Eastern Conference. If Beal hits the market this summer as expected, he’ll join a loaded free agent class featuring Kyrie Irving (unless he exercises his player option), Zach LaVine, DeAndre Ayton, Miles Bridges and Russell Westbrook.