Added Pressure for Wizards to Trade Beal This Offseason


Another NBA offseason is here, and so is another round of questions over Bradley Beal’s future with the Washington Wizards. 

This isn’t old news to NBA fans.

Beal’s future in Washington has been a mainstay narrative in trade deadline and offseason stories since the 2018-2019 season. Since Beal became the Wizards’ best player, regular season and playoff success for Washington has been entirely absent.

The Wizards nearly advanced to the Conference Finals in 2017 behind the performances of Beal and All-NBA third-team guard John Wall (23.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 10.7 APG, 2.0 SPG). But since Wall’s injuries and eventual trade to the Rockets, the Wizards have been free-falling in the Eastern Conference.

The Wizards have had four-straight seasons below .500, with just one playoff win since Beal became Washington’s best player. Not including the play-in tournament, the team has never finished as a top-eight seed in the East.

Washington’s lack of regular-season success has also not translated to any success at the draft:

The Wizards are stuck between a rock and a hard place: not talented enough to make the playoffs, but too talented to land a top pick in the draft.

Washington faces three options: re-sign Beal, let him walk in free agency, or trade him to another team.

Beal has one year left under contract and is eligible for a supermax extension. If Washington wants to move him for assets, this would be an optimal time to do so.

On the other hand, the Wizards could retool, hoping that Beal and their recent acquisition of Kristaps Porzingis can lead the team back into playoff contention.

Heading into the offseason, the Wizards need to assess how Beal will fit with the team moving forward.

Questions Over Beal’s Next Contract

Beal was eligible to sign a four-year, $181 million extension this past season. By waiting on an extension, Beal now has multiple primary options to decide his future:

  • Re-sign with the Wizards on a five-year, $246 million max extension.
  • Sign with another team on a four-year, $182 million max contract.
  • Accept his player option for 2022-2023 at $36.4 million.
  • Request a trade to another team if he accepts his player option or through a sign-and-trade.
  • Ask for a trade once he is re-signed by the Wizards.

As of now, Beal is likely to re-sign with the Wizards and then determine his future later on. Beal has said he wants to finish his career in Washington and expressed his desire to build a winning culture with the team.

The Wizards need to ask themselves if Beal is worth a supermax extension that will have him under contract until his age-33 season.

Beal peaked in 2020 and 2021 with 30-plus point-per-game averages in both seasons. But last season, Beal’s performance cratered:

  • Beal in 2020-2021: 35.8 MPG, 31.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.4 APG, 49% shooting, 35% three-point shooting (6.2 attempts/game)
  • Beal in 2021-2022: 36.0 MPG, 23.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.6 APG, 45% shooting, 30% three-point shooting (5.3 attempts/game)

Beal suffered drops in points per game, scoring efficiency from both two- and three-point range, free-throw attempts, and defense.

He has also been injury-prone throughout his career. In ten seasons, Beal has played in all 82 games twice and played in under 65 games six times.

This past season, Beal played 40 games before undergoing season-ending surgery on his left wrist.

Should the Wizards expect a bounce-back season from an injury-prone guard who took steps back on offense and defense this past season? Would the team be willing to invest in Beal for the next half-decade despite the risk of injury and decline in performance?

Washington should proceed with caution if they want to offer Beal a supermax extension.

Beal’s Value in the Trade Market

Despite some concerns, Beal still has value to any contender. 

Since 2017, recent Wizards’ seasons proved that Beal can’t be the best player on a playoff team. As a second or third star, however, he offers tremendous potential.

Beal is an excellent shooter who can help teams in need of more offensive firepower. He averaged nearly seven assists this past season, proving to be a capable playmaker, too.

The Trail Blazers and Sixers are rumored to be interested in Beal. Beal could fit perfectly behind superstars Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid as a secondary scorer.

The Heat are also in consideration as a trade destination for Beal. Miami’s offense plummeted in the playoffs outside of Jimmy Butler. Beal could improve the Heat’s scoring without sacrificing much on the defensive end.

When Beal signed an extension in 2019, the Wizards verbally agreed in 2021 that they would trade Beal to a team he’s comfortable with:

That was then, but this is now.

Beal’s trade value will be at its highest while he’s still 28 and under contract for one more season. 

The Wizards are projected to be over the cap heading into free agency. Their only avenues for improving revolve around Beal coming back healthy and internal growth.

If Washington is looking to hit the reset button, this offseason is the best chance the Wizards have to move on from Beal.

About Dominic Chiappone

    Recommended for you

    Powered by themekiller.com