Then, he put his money where his mouth is.
Beal signed a contract extension last October that locked him into a $34,502,129 salary for 2021-22. If he makes an All-NBA team this season or next – and the way he’s playing, he has a shot this year – he would’ve been eligible for a super-max salary projected to be $44 million in 2021-22. But Beal valued security in Washington.
Still, I wondered whether he fully understood the consequences of his decision. Planning to remain loyal is one thing. Living through the misery of a long losing season is another. There have been signs of discontent.
But Beal is not only sticking with his devotion to the Wizards, he’s once again raising the stakes.
For me, I look at Kobe, I look at D-Wade [Dwyane Wade], I look at Dirk [Nowitzki], U.D. [Udonis Haslem], how they can stay in one situation for a long time.
I hate change. If it happens, it happens. But if I can control it, I will finish in D.C.
I can sit here and say, ‘Yeah, I can go to Boston, I can go to Toronto, I can go to Miami’ … I can go everywhere everybody wants me to go. But what would that look like? It wouldn’t necessarily be my team to where now I’m in a situation in Washington where I’m being built around.
I know I’m going to have to take these bumps and bruises. I knew this last summer.
Beal is venturing into Damian Lillard territory. Lillard has steadfastly stated his commitment to the Trail Blazers. It goes way beyond the lip service many stars give to their current team. If Lillard ever leaves Portland, it would raise questions about his integrity. That’s how far he has gone preaching loyalty to the Trail Blazers.
Now, Beal is saying similar things about the Wizards.
He deserves a ton of credit for identifying what he values and working to optimize it. In league where stars often team up, Beal is plotting his own course.
When he this vehemently says he wants to stay in Washington, we should believe him.