Loyalty is an interesting thing. Around the NBA, it could mean staying with a team for too long. We’re not sure that’s the case with Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal.
What we do know is that the recently-extended star guard had other opportunities in the past to join a winning organization.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst touched on this during a recent appearance on The Dan Patrick Show. In said Q&A, Windhorst noted that the Golden State Warriors had interest in acquiring Beal ahead of the 2021-22 season. Apparently, the three-time All-Star didn’t have interest in moving out west.
At the time of Golden State’s interest, it was coming off a loss in the play-in tournament. Meanwhile, Bradley Beal and his Washington Wizards had earned a spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. The gap between these two teams wasn’t as wide as it is now.
Bradley Beal’s loyalty to the Washington Wizards and forming a championship contender
Loyalty doesn’t come without a price. For the Wizards, that included handing Beal a five-year, $251.1 million contract with the only known no-trade clause in the NBA today. Said deal includes the largest total contract value in NBA history.
For a Wizards organization that has struggled to stay relevant under embattled owner Ted Leonsis, this was a no-brainer. The reward was much larger than the risk given Beal’s success since joining the organization as the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
For Beal, the risk is all-too real. As noted above, he had multiple options to join contending teams around the NBA. Instead, the home-grown talent opted to remain with the Wizards and build his own thing.
For players such as Beal and Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, it’s all about building something independent of today’s “super-team” mentality around the NBA. Beal’s built-in relationship with the nation’s capital adds to this.
As Beal was working through the free-agent market with an eye firmly on returning to the Washington Wizards, he was also out there helping refurbish outdoor basketball courts for those in need. For Beal, it was all about the community.
“I was trying to figure out something I could do in the city that left a lasting impact. That’s what I’m big on; legacy,” Beal said.
It’s now up to Washington to build that winner around Beal in D.C. The idea of him being a legendary force locally like we’ve seen with Stephen Curry across the United States in the Bay Area.
After all, Beal has made it clear he wants to create something in D.C. rather than join an entity he didn’t help create in another NBA city.
That loyalty is great. But the Wizards’ brass must now do their part.