Bradley Beal was at his son’s baseball game when his agent broke the news that he was being traded to Phoenix, he says in an interview with Deyscha Smith of Slam Magazine. Beal stayed and watched the rest of the game while speculation ran wild on social media about the new super-team in Phoenix and how Beal can co-exist with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton.
It’s been about a month since the trade became official, and Beal is well into the process of connecting with his new Suns teammates. They set up a group chat to keep in touch throughout the summer, and Beal said they’ve made him feel welcome in his new home.
“Everybody’s been unreal in this whole transition,” he said. “This is all new for me, but I’m embracing it, and these guys have all embraced me. It’s like, I’m ready to get to work, you know? This is definitely an awesome group of guys to be a part of. We’re still building on our team, but it’s been a joy so far.”
Beal describes Durant and Booker as “humble” and says he tries to approach the game the same way they do. He doesn’t expect any problems as three players who’ve been primary scorers throughout their careers try to blend their talents into a cohesive unit.
Beal was a three-time All-Star in Washington, but his reputation has taken a hit recently as a result of injuries and a decline in performance. After averaging 30.5 and 31.3 PPG in back-to-back seasons, Beal fell off to 23.2 in the last two years while playing 40 and 50 games.
He told Smith that he hasn’t set any individual goals for the upcoming season, but he hopes to prove he can still be one of NBA’s best players on both ends of the court.
“Showing that I can really compete at a high level and play a meaningful game. You know, playing in the playoffs, winning in the playoffs, advancing past rounds,” Beal said. “Granted, I wanna get back to my All-Star level of play. I really believe that that’s who I am: All-NBA guy, All-Star guy. And I have a good group that can push me to be that every single day. So I’m excited about that opportunity. I get to be around like-minded guys and guys who will push me to make sure that I’m the best version of myself every day.”
Beal is trying to savor the changes in his life after spending his first 11 seasons with the Wizards. He said it felt like he “got drafted all over again” when he put on a Suns uniform for the first time, but he hopes the legacy he built in Washington will endure now that he’s on the other side of the country.
“I had so many great memories and so many great moments in DC,” Beal said. “It’s really hard to pinpoint one. I think I’m just grateful for all the bonds and the relationships I’ve built. I think that’s what I’ll propel into my next chapter of life. I want this chapter to be more or less open and me not trying to control everything.
“I think we, as humans, sometimes try to control our lives a little too much. I want to just let this wave kind of take me where it wants to go and let God lead the way and enjoy it every step of the way.”