Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal is off to a bit of a slow start to the 2021-22 season, but by and large he's viewed as one of the league's best pure scorers and a talent any team would love to trade for, cost be darned.
So any time Beal, 28, goes out of his way to talk about the future of his playing career, decision-makers around the league certainly tune in.
And in a new episode of the Posted Up podcast with Chris Haynes, Beal gave some very interesting pull quotes to Haynes about his future with the Wizards that should have Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey ringing Washington's front office. You know, just to check in and say hi.
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Here's the most notable stretch of the podcast, where Beal talks about the current status of his contract with Washington and trying to make it work there:
"I got time. I kinda hold the cards right now. One, I've never been in this position, so I'm kind of embracing that, right? Being able to, ok, dictate how I want my future to be, and where I want it to be. And at the same time I'm giving [Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard] that opportunity to show that it's working. But at the same time I'm not going to make that grand commitment and it doesn't work. Ultimately, you have to be selfish, right, at some point. And for probably the first time in my career, Year 10, I am. But my full commitment is to the team. I want it to work, you know what I'm saying, I've contributed to being here, right? I've committed to being here twice. So now I want to see that commitment to me as well."
A lot of spice in 80 seconds!
The particular line that stuck out to me was when Beal said he's "not going to make that grand commitment and it doesn't work", which feels fairly pointed as buzz swirls about
These podcasts are recorded in advance, but it doesn't feel like a complete and total coincidence that this episode was released as the Wizards have lost three in a row and six of 10. When you look at Washington's roster, this feels like a more complete team than last year's top heavy, defense-optional squad... but this still isn't a contender, and Beal has to know this.
Beal signed a two-year extension in 2019 that locked him up through the end of this season, with a player option for next year. He'll be due $36 million next year, and NBA players like control but they also like money, so opting out of that option that down might be unlikely unless the Wizards truly nosedive this year.
That said, hearing that kind of trepidation to commit to Washington has to be music to Morey's ears, because it sounds like Beal learning the lesson that Damian Lillard did not learn: sometimes you just have to leave, man.
Lillard entrenched himself so much in the "I'm here for life" stance with Portland that it almost seems impossible for him to ask for a trade at this point, even though he wants to win more than anything. Beal sounds perfectly ready to ask for a trade if he decides the Wizards are going nowhere for years to come (which, let me tell you bud, is already the case - but that's not the point right now).
The Sixers should hope the Wizards keep skidding, and then Morey should call Shepard and start pressing hard on convincing him to get something for Beal now, rather than waiting it out. Beal could opt out of his deal at the end of the year and sign somewhere else. Then what?
Here's what I would propose, were I Morey:
WAS receives: Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, 2023 1st Round pick
PHI receives: Bradley Beal
I imagine Shepard will ask for more, and I'd probably throw in another first-roundp pick, but tell me where else in the league he'd get more. The only player who is better than Simmons and is currently moveable is Lillard, but a Lillard-Beal swap doesn't make any sense, nor does a McCollum-Beal deal with added pieces to Washington. Neither team would be any better, and Washington would be older. Lose-lose.
But Beal in Philadelphia with Joel Embiid? That's a winning combo, and Simmons in Washington gives the Wizards a face of the future to build around.
In any case, the trade rumor mills are turning once again, so it's time to keep your eye out for any and every morsel out there. It should get interesting soon.