Bradley Beal‘s decision to sign a two-year contract extension with the Wizards on Thursday surprised many NBA observers, since Beal could have potentially signed a more lucrative contract in a year or simply chose not to extend his stay with his rebuilding franchise. Speaking to reporters, including David Aldridge of The Athletic, the All-Star shooting guard explained why he opted to sign the new deal, which will lock him up through at least the 2021/22 season.
“I guess legacy at the end of the day,” Beal said. “This is where I’ve been for the last seven years, going on eight. I have an opportunity to be able to turn this thing around. A lot of people doubt that. I view it as a challenge. I view it as something that I feel a lot of D.C. sports have been a part of, rebuilding something and kind of building them into championship-caliber teams. Why not me? Why kind of sell myself short of a great opportunity that I have in my hands right now?”
While the extension is a big win for the Wizards and new general manager Tommy Sheppard, it’s worth noting that Beal only tacked on one guaranteed season to his current deal, so his commitment to the organization isn’t as long-term as it could have been.
One person with knowledge of Beal’s thinking tells Aldridge that the 26-year-old is “giving [Sheppard] a chance now that he’s in charge.” If the Wizards don’t show real progress in the next year or two, it’s still possible that Beal will have second thoughts about whether he wants to remain in D.C. long-term.
Here’s more on Beal’s new deal:
- Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington hears that Sheppard and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, along with other Wizards executives, flew to Chicago last month to meet with Beal and agent Mark Bartelstein. Beal had the opportunity at that meeting to ask questions about the franchise’s direction. “I just felt comfortable with where we were going,” Beal said. “I talked to Ted and they kind of projected the future and gave me the layout of what we can do in the future.”
- Fred Katz of The Athletic explores how Beal’s extension affects the Wizards’ rebuilding process, noting that having the two-time All-Star under contract for at least the next three years gives the team some extra security to be patient with its roster moves.
- Ben Golliver of The Washington Post digs into what the extension means to Sheppard, a first-time general manager who was placed in a tough situation.
- The Heat were known to be one team that would have serious interest in Beal if the Wizards changed course and decided to trade him, but that will no longer be an option for Miami, at least during the 2019/20 season, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.