After a report earlier this week that the Wizards aren’t considering any trades involving Bradley Beal, coach Scott Brooks issued an emphatic declaration today that the star guard isn’t on the market, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports.
“Brad and I have never talked about it,” Brooks said after today’s practice. “We know that’s part of it. We haven’t won and when you don’t win, teams think that you’re just gonna throw the towel in and give up, that you’re just gonna want to get rid of your good players. So, that’s all part of the business.
“Brad is no different. He’s one of the best players in the league, of course every team would want him. But the good part about it is the team he’s on loves him the most. I love coaching him. He wants to be here, he signed an extension. He didn’t have to.”
Beal’s appeal is obvious. He’s one of the league’s most dangerous offensive players and is on pace to win his first scoring title. He’s averaging 34.7 PPG through 14 games, more than four points better than second-place Kevin Durant.
However, he’s putting up those numbers for the league’s worst team. Playing short-handed for much of the year due to COVID-19 and contact tracing, the Wizards have lost four straight games and are off to a 3-12 start. With six games already postponed, they face a loaded schedule for the second half of the season.
Beal admitted this week that the losing is getting to him, responding “Is the sky blue?” when asked if he was frustrated after Wednesday’s loss to the Pelicans.
Even so, Beal hasn’t asked to be traded and sources close to him tell Hughes that he doesn’t plan to. The Wizards are sticking to their position that they won’t seek a deal unless he requests one.
The extension that Beal signed in 2019 keeps him under contract through the end of next season, with a $36.4MM player option for 2022/23. The Wizards are hoping to quiet trade speculation by getting back in the playoff race once their full team is available again. In the meantime, Brooks is trying a more direct approach.
“We’re not interested,” he told reporters. “I’m gonna just tell (general manager Tommy Sheppard) you might as well block all the 29 other teams’ numbers. We’re not answering.”