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NBA

Wizards’ Bradley Beal set to decline player option and enter free agency

As free agency looms, there couldn’t be a worse time for the Wizards’ star to opt out of his player option. Now it’s a question of ‘will he stay or will he go?’

Update:
Wizards’ Bradley Beal set to decline player option and enter free agency
Brad MillsUSA TODAY Sports

With Free Agency now just hours away, things have definitely started to get interesting across the league as varying players and teams alike are now in the thick of making or breaking moves.

Bradley Beal declines player option to become free agent

According to reports, three-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal has declined the player option on his contract for the 2022/23 season. It is understood that the option he had with the Washington Wizards was valued at some $36.4 million. Interestingly, the 10-year veteran is actually eligible to sign a five-year maximum contract with the Wizards which would see him take in nearly $250 million. Alternatively, there is also the notion of a four-year deal from another team that would logically be more in the realm of $180 million. In both scenarios Beal would see his salary be listed at approximately $43 million.

What’s clear here is that if this comes down to money, staying with Washington will be the obvious choice, assuming the Wizards do in fact agree to give him a max deal. When he was asked back in March about what his plans for the future were i.e. would he be re-signing with the team, Beal responded by saying “That’s fair.” He went on to reiterate that position when he was again asked a similar question last month, though it’s clear he is intrigued by the free agency market.

Where do the Wizards stand on Bradley Beal?

Interestingly, it appears that the Wizards are still confident that Beal will be on their roster when the next season rolls around. Speaking on the situation team president Tommy Sheppard said as much. “I feel every indication he’s given me is that he wants to be here moving forward,” Sheppard said at the end of this past season. “I stick to the 10 years of confidence I have in the relationship we’ve had.”

For his part Beal has been a dependable servant in recent seasons with an average of 30.9 points (on 47/35/87 shooting splits), 5.2 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game from 2019-21. His minutes were unfortunately cut short last season when he was forced off the court for almost half of the campaign following an operation on his left wrist. After his return Beal found himself often placed alongside what could be called mediocre talent. This is a team after all which traded star John Wall as well as one time MVP Russell Westbrook after a first round playoff exit in 2021. Since that time the team has found itself playing the waiting game with the likes of players such as first-round picks Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija and Corey Kispert who they continue to hope will make good on their obvious promise.

Where could Bradley Beal go if he leaves the Wizards?

Given all that we’ve discussed so far, one can imagine that the rumors of a pending trade have increased with each passing day, even more so since Beal himself didn’t exactly deny his interest in free agency. Understandably, as a talented and experienced player, Beal has a list of interested parties from the Boston Celtics, to Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and even the newly crowned NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors.

Incidentally, Beal’s well documented friendship with Celtics’ Jayson Tatum has only served to fuel the rumor mill even more. Yet it should be said that the Wizards’ player himself has apparently pledged his allegiance to Washington’s cause. That will of course be news that is well received by the team that drafter him at No. 3 overall back in 2012.

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