Wizards Notes: Beal, Avdija, Offseason, Porzingis

Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, should he decide not to pick up his $36.4MM player option for the 2022/23 season. Washington president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard appears to be optimistic that Beal will stick around long-term with the team that drafted him, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

“I feel every indication he’s given me is that he wants to be here moving forward,” Sheppard said of Beal’s future with the Wizards. “I stick to the 10 years of confidence I have in the relationship we’ve had. It’s a lot of time, a lot of equity and a lot of conversations. I feel that we’ve shown this is a place we can build around him. I think he’s shown to the community here that when he’s healthy he’s one of the best players at his position. Those are hard to come by.”

The 28-year-old Beal, a three-time All-Star, was limited to just 40 games this year due largely to a left wrist injury that ultimately required surgery. He averaged 23.2 PPG, 6.6 APG and 4.7 RPG this year.

There’s more out of D.C.:

  • Wizards swingman Deni Avdija expressed excitement for being able to hone his game during the first normal, healthy offseason of his NBA career, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. There was no training camp or summer league due to the pandemic during the 2020 offseason, and the 21-year-old was recovering from an ankle fracture in the 2021 offseason. “I know what I need to do better,” Avdija said. “Just finishing the season like that gives you motivation and energy. You know you can make plays, you know you can help the team win. I feel like just taking the next step.” Hughes notes that Avidja closed out the year with an uptick in his output. He averaged 12.6 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 3.6 APG across his last 16 contests of the year.
  • Following a disappointing 2021/22 season in which they missed the playoffs and play-in tournament, the Wizards must deal with a variety of personnel issues in the offseason, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes in a separate piece. Hughes identifies the free agent fate of Beal as the biggest hurdle confronting Washington in the offseason. The next priority, should Beal return, will be finding a long-term solution as the team’s starting point guard. Hughes expects the Wizards front office to consider trade and free agency options over drafting a point guard. Hughes also anticipates that Washington will look to shore up its defense and long-range shooting.
  • New Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis expects the team to compete for the playoffs next year, writes Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. Porzingis also posits that he himself has only reached 60-65% of his ceiling, and hopes to boost that level next year. After shooting guard Bradley Beal went down with a wrist injury in February, the team ultimately finished with a 35-47 record and missed the play-in tournament. “This summer is a long one, and also I’m fresh,” the 26-year-old big man said of his offseason health. “I’m feeling great. I could play right now. That’s an exciting thing for me, and I’m really looking forward to doing some work, getting some tan and coming back next season with batteries fully charged.”
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