Ahead of All-Star Game, Bradley Beal is All In on the Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

While trade requests and rumors continue to swirl around the NBA’s perennial all-stars and franchise centerpieces, the Washington Wizards can breathe a sigh of relief.  Bradley Beal wants to stay in D.C.

In the era of free agency and super teams, the NBA has turned into an arms race of talent. And for one team to add a star, it means another has to lose one. Players who fans think will be the face of their franchise for a decade or more can wind up in another jersey before next season. Just ask Cleveland. Or New York. Or Oklahoma City. Or San Antonio. Or New Orleans. Or Indiana.

As Anthony Davis spends NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte discussing which teams are on his free agent destination list (apparently it’s all 29 now), another 25-year-old all-star is making it very clear that he wants to stay put.

“If I can retire in this jersey, I will. I’m all about loyalty,” Bradley Beal said earlier this weekend, reported NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes.

With the Wizards on the outside of the playoff race this season and facing an uncertain future with John Wall‘s injury, many people are wondering if it’s time to blow things up in Washington. Beal’s comments suggest he’d prefer to stick it out in D.C. rather than jump to a contender.

However, that choice isn’t entirely up to him. If you remember back to the trade deadline, Ernie Grunfeld assured us that Wall, Beal and Otto Porter were all staying in Washington past the deadline. Less than a week later, Porter was headed to the Chicago Bulls.

Plus, if the Wizards were to blow it up and rebuild, they could get a lot in return for Beal. At just 25, he’s already participating in his second All-Star game. This season, he’s posting career highs in minutes, free throw attempts (and makes), points, rebounds, assists, and blocks per game. And he’s leading all Eastern Conference players in 20+ point games (48). If he’s made available, teams will come calling with some very attractive offers.

But if the Wizards decide to set sail into the unknown with the crew they have, Beal isn’t a bad captain. In fact, he’s a great one. Just read what he told The Athletic’s Fred Katz about the challenge ahead:

"“I’m a firm believer that no matter who we have — I think I can do it with anybody. I feel like it’s possible with anybody as long as you have that work ethic and that dedication to get to that level. But it’s not gonna be easy. It’d be naïve to say that. I’d be naïve to say it’s been a great year. But it’s definitely been one that I’ve embraced and learned a lot throughout the course, too. Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.”"

Beal’s been saying all the right things throughout a season that’s been less than ideal. No one would blame him for being publicly frustrated and speaking out. But he hasn’t. And that’s got to be worth something.

Next. Is Bobby Portis the Team's Next All-Star?. dark

But is it worth roughly $190 million over the next four years? Because that might be what the Wizards have to pay to keep Beal. If he receives All-NBA honors this season, he’ll be eligible for a supermax extension. That extension would net him over $40 million a year starting in 2021.

The Wizards are already in financial trouble due to Wall’s supermax extension. If they aren’t willing or able to cough up the money for another one, Beal’s feelings about retiring in a Wizards jersey might change.