Bradley Beal has time and time again pledged to remain with the Washington Wizards if possible. However, he also said he’s open to leaving the team after all.
Earlier this week, Beal was a guest on The Old Man and The Three, a podcast by New Orleans guard JJ Redick and Tommy Alter. The most eye opening lines were these:
You still want to be able to protect yourself and kind of be selfish in that regard and ... how I can create some type of flexibility for myself if we aren’t winning, if I do choose to get out. That’s why it was more or less a one and one versus a full three-year.
Bradley Beal explains why he signed a 1+1 year extension with Washington— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 28, 2020
"You still want to be able to protect yourself and kinda be selfish. How can I create some type of flexibility for myself if we aren’t winning, if I do choose to get out."
( @OldManAndThree ) pic.twitter.com/EFa0dRvfSt
In October 2019, Beal signed a two-year contract worth $72 million with a player option in the last year. The extension money kicks in for the 2021-22 season, meaning he could opt out in the 2022 NBA offseason. He could have signed a three-year contract extension worth $111 million instead.
The comments are eye-opening because it’s the first time Beal openly said he’d consider playing somewhere else in his NBA career. But it’s also stating the reality of the Wizards. The team hopes to contend in the Eastern Conference with John Wall returning in great physical shape. However, few think the Wizards can be in that conversation.
Also, the Wizards have rebuilt most of their roster outside of Beal and Wall with younger players over the last year. Something that had to be done, but the team is going to have to hit the ground running early to quiet down the trade talk.
I think it’s clear that Beal wants to stay in D.C. But if the Wizards start the season poorly and remain a bad team, it’s difficult NOT to see him traded sooner rather than later.
You can listen to the entire podcast here.