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Washington Wizards situation with Bradley Beal remains largely unsettled

Vincent Frank

There’s so many different narratives coming out surrounding the Washington Wizards and star guard Bradley Beal heading into NBA free agency.

With the deadline for Beal to make a decision on his player option for the 2022-23 season roughly two weeks away, we’re hearing a ton of reports about his fuure in D.C.

For pretty much the entire 2021-22 season, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the high-scoring guard would opt out and re-sign. That’s given in to recent comments from Beal suggesting that the ability to win will be a major part of his decision-making process.

“I know what my decision will be based off. It’s gonna be where I feel like I can win and that’s going to be my decision. If I feel like I can win in D.C., that’s what I’m going to do, and I want people to respect that.”

Washington wizards’ Bradley Beal on pending free-agent decision

Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady followed up that by suggesting winning should be Beal’s primary goal. In the process, McGrady seemed to throw shade in the direction of the Washington organization.

“It all depends on where he’s at mentally in his career. Like, I know he wants to win a championship. Does he think he can win a championship in Washington? That’s a question I think he can answer based off of the history [he has] with the Washington Wizards.”

Tracy McGrady on Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards, via NBC Sports Washington

Since Beal arrived in Washington as the No. 3 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, this organization has earned five playoff appearances. However, it has not made it past the Eastern Conference Semifinals during that span and has one postseason appearance over the past four years.

Related: 3 Washington Wizards trade scenarios in the 2022 NBA Draft

Bradley Beal as the Washington Wizards’ version of Dirk Nowitzki?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of the finances that come into play here (more on that in a bit), there’s this loyalty factor. Much like Damian Lillard in the pacific northwest, Beal has been intent on trying to build a winner in D.C.

He’s pushed back against requesting a trade in the past and seems to be favoring a return to the Wizards. For the 28-year-old guard, it’s all about building something special in the nation’s capital.

“I’ve heard a rumble or two in recent months from parties hopeful of luring Bradley Beal away from Washington that Beal is known for saying, in essence, that he wants to be the Dirk Nowitzki of the Wizards in terms of playing only for the franchise that drafted him No. 3 overall in 2012.”

NBA insider Marc Stein reported recently

To put this into perspective, Dirk played all 21 seasons with the Mavericks after they made him the top-10 pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. The 14-time All-Star would have to wait until his 13th season in the league to hoist his first and only Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Related: Washington Wizards selection in our 2022 NBA mock draft

Money might not be a huge factor in Bradley Beal’s decision

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As we noted above, Beal’s decision won’t come simply down to money. If that were the case, Washington would have the inside advantage in a big way.

  • Bradley Beal contract with Washington Wizards: 5 years, $242 million
  • Bradley Beal contract with another team: 4 years, $179 million

Beal would be giving up $63 million in cold-hard cash if he were to opt out and sign with another team during NBA free agency. That’s a lot to leave on the table.

With that said, Washington’s brass must prove that it has a plan to field a competitive team next season before Beal commits. This seems to be the biggest factor in his decision-making process.