With just over three weeks until the February 10 deadline, there has been no real discussion on the trade market about Wizards star Bradley Beal, and the expectation is that there won’t be, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Insider link).
As Windhorst details, Beal doesn’t plan to sign the extension offer that has been on the table since October and will likely opt out of his contract during the 2022 offseason. However, the Wizards are preparing to “roll the dice” on the veteran guard deciding to re-sign with the team this summer.
General manager Tommy Sheppard recently told The Athletic that both sides have been transparent in their communications, a point Windhorst reiterates. Beal has been involved in many of Washington’s recent major roster decisions, including the trade of Russell Westbrook and the free agent recruitment of Spencer Dinwiddie, team sources tell ESPN. Windhorst adds that Beal and his family have also become close with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, an offseason addition.
While there was some speculation entering the 2021/22 season that Beal might seek a change of scenery if things went south in D.C., Matt Moore of Action Network hears from two sources that – if anything – the 28-year-old has become even less inclined to jump ship. According to Moore, there’s a belief that Beal’s focus is on maximizing his next contract rather than finding a new team.
The Wizards will be able to offer Beal more years (five) and more money ($241MM+) in free agency than any other suitor would be able to, and the team’s apparent willingness to put a five-year offer on the table has resulted in “a measure of calm” within the organization about the All-Star’s future, says Windhorst. A rival team wouldn’t be able to go beyond four years and $179MM for Beal in free agency, based on the NBA’s most recent cap projections.
That doesn’t mean it’s a lock that Beal will re-sign with the Wizards in the offseason, but it appears the club’s plan in the coming weeks will be to seek roster upgrades to complement its leading scorer, rather than entertaining any offers that include him.
As Windhorst writes, the Wizards have already traded away one of their future first-round picks – along with several second-rounders – and are less than $2MM away from the tax line, so they’ll have to be careful about how they approach the deadline, given that they have no assurances yet about Beal’s future.