This should surprise nobody who has followed Bradley Beal for the past few years.
A new report at ESPN — with Kevin Pelton citing Adrian Wojnarowski — confirms what NBC Sports and others have reported in the past: Bradley Beal will opt out of his current $36.4 million deal to re-sign with the Wizards on a five-year max worth at least $246 million (depending on where next year’s salary cap falls). From Pelton:
Per Wojnarowski, Beal is very likely to decline the option and re-sign with Washington on a five-year deal worth a projected $248 million that would take him through age 33.
Beal wants to win and play on the league’s biggest stages, and it can’t be easy to watch his fellow St. Louis native Jayson Tatum playing for an NBA title when Beal has never gotten out of the second round. It’s why Beal is torn and says things like he wants to play where he has a real chance to win.
However, Beal can sign a quarter of a billion dollar contract — and that contract travels to his next team if he forces his way out in a couple of years. Let me repeat that: A quarter of a billion dollars. His agent — any agent and any sane person — would tell him to grab that bag and deal with where he chooses to work in a couple of years.
That cold reality of top players taking the money and then forcing their way to another team — a truth Ben Simmons brought home last year in Philadelphia — is going to be a divisive topic as the CBA negotiations heat up between the league and players union. It’s a standoff between player/worker empowerment and the damage forcing a trade a year into a contract can do to the business of a basketball franchise and its value. This could be an ugly sticking point in talks.
But none of that impacts Beal.
He is going to take his massive bag and try to win this season playing with Kristaps Porzingis and solid role players such as Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Rui Hachimura. And if the Wizards aren’t winning and Beal wants to chase a title in a couple of years, he’ll follow a trail other superstars have blazed out of town.