Consider this another blow to the dream in some NBA cities — hypothetically, a Pennsylvania city with a very famous bell — that Bradley Beal is going to push his way out of Washington and come save the day.
Beal said he was “extremely ecstatic” to hear the news, and also gave a shoutout to Sashi Brown, who was promoted to president of Monumental Basketball.
Of Sheppard, Beal said: “I see Shep in here every single day. He’s very in tune, he cares. He’s an awesome person and he loves the game. He just wants his team to do well, he wants his team to get better and he holds us to a certain standard. I respect it and I love it. I’m definitely happy for him. He’s just constantly working, he’s constantly checking on me, checking on everybody. He’s a great GM, I’m happy for him and his promotion and his next few years here.”
Beal — much like Damian Lillard has done in Portland — has consistently said he would rather win where he is, with the team that drafted him, than bolt to form a superteam. Earlier this season, Beal said simply, “I want to win with D.C.”
The buzz in league circles is that Beal is very likely to re-sign with the Wizards next offseason thanks to the Wizards’ fast start this season. Still, there is a window. Sheppard offered Beal a four-year, $181 million contract extension (the most the Wizards can offer) but he’s not likely to sign it. If Beal plays out his contract and becomes a free agent next summer, he can sign a five-year, $242 million contract from the Wizards. However, that means he hits the open market. Other players will try to recruit him and Beal will have options this summer.
Still, the smart money is on Beal staying put.
Especially with the Wizards winning (they currently sit as the No. 2 seed in the East). Sheppard earned that contract extension partly because of the smart offseason moves he made — trading Russell Westbrook for Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, plus signing Spencer Dinwiddie — that provide depth and versatility in lineups that Washington lacked before. New coach Wes Unseld Jr. has the team defending well (top 10 in the league), which has been the core of their early success.
The Wizards have done all this without Beal at his best, scoring 23.7 points a game (down from 30+ the past two seasons) and shooting 27.8% from 3. When Beal finds his groove again, the Wizards become that much more dangerous.