Washington Wizards: It may be time to reconsider trading Bradley Beal

The Washington Wizards need to seriously reconsider trading their superstar, Bradley Beal if things don’t start to turn around in the coming weeks.

The Washington Wizards keep wasting Bradley Beal’s greatness. Over the past two games, Beal scored a combined 101 points and shot above 50 percent from the field and from three. The Wizards lost both games.

First, it was the Philadelphia 76ers. For the second time this season, the Wizards fell short to the 76ers, who currently hold the NBA’s best record at 7-2. The final score to Wednesday’s matchup was close (141-136), but the 76ers were pretty much in control the entire contest. After trailing by as many as 21 points, the Wizards battled back to take the lead (127-126) with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, they couldn’t pull off the comeback, and the Wizards ended up losing for the first time in 2021. Beal finished with 60 points.

Then, an all-too-similar loss to the Boston Celtics in which the Wizards were down by 28 in the second half, battled to within four, and ultimately lost 116-107. Beal poured in 41 points in that loss.

The loss to the Celtics dropped the Wizards to dead last in the Eastern Conference. They’re hanging out with the Detroit Pistons at 2-7. Yes, it’s still early in the season, but the Wizards have not looked like a contending team so far. The Russell Westbrook trade isn’t producing wins, and he and Beal haven’t been the dynamic duo that many fans expected they would be.

So what now? We’re only nine games into the season. The Wizards have time to turn things around. But with Westbrook currently sitting the second half of back-to-backs, who knows how quickly they can gel and string some wins together. The Wizards need to improve drastically if they want to be considered a threat in the East. And do it fast. Or, they could blow it up.

Bradley Beal’s career night ends in a loss…again.

There’s a ton of blame to go around for Washington’s slow start, but Bradley Beal deserves none of it. He has been absolutely amazing to start the year! Beal is the leading scorer in the entire NBA, averaging 35.0 points per game. His performance against the 76ers was one for the record books! He became the second player in franchise history to score 60 points in a game, joining Gilbert Arenas in the record books. Arenas scored 60 points against the Lakers and the late great Kobe Bryant in 2006, but the Wizards won the game in overtime 147-141.

Beal, on the other hand, has not been so lucky. Last season, he scored his previous career-high of 55 points in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, and that was one night after he just scored 53 points in a loss to the Chicago Bulls. Beal has scored 50 points or more four times in his career, and the only win came against the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017. He had 51 points, and the Wizards won 106-92. In Beal’s last 12 games with at least 40 points, the Wizards have gone 1-11.

Career highs are great, but wins and losses are all that matters in the end. Beal knows it.

Will patience be a virtue for Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards?

Before starting the season, GM Tommy Sheppard made it clear that the Wizards were building around Beal. Bradley Beal was not for sale. But after a 2-7 start, Sheppard may have to start changing his tune. It’s difficult to make any predictions this early on, but Washington has the looks of a team that will be fighting to make the play-in tournament. If so, their ceiling would most likely be a first-round or second-round exit at best.

Will that be enough to keep Beal happy? Probably not. How long will it be before he finally reaches his breaking point? He may be fully committed to Washington right now, but his confidence in the franchise will waver if the losses continue to pile up. Especially when so many of them, at least this season, have felt winnable.

Beal turns 28 in June, and this is his ninth NBA season. The Wizards have never been to the Conference Finals during his career, and they’ve missed the playoffs entirely in each of the last two seasons. Beal wanted to be the man in D.C., and he is, but Beal doesn’t want to spend his prime years dwelling in the land of mediocrity when the ultimate goal is to win a championship.

The Wizards have Beal under contract through the end of next season, and he has a $37 million player option for the 2022-23 season. If the Wizards can’t provide him with an opportunity to win, it’s best to part ways and rebuild before it gets ugly. The trade deadline for this season is March 25. If he’s still a Wizard on the 26th, he can’t be moved until the offseason.

Whatever they choose, Washington needs to prevent themselves from ending up in the same situation as the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are currently dealing with a disgruntled superstar in James Harden, who reportedly requested a trade before the season started. He’s still in Houston, and the team has maintained its stance that they won’t fulfill his request until the right offer comes along. It’s been a mess for weeks, and it isn’t a model the Wizards should want to emulate.

You have to commend the Rockets’ front office. This approach could end up causing some tension within their locker room, but at least they’re looking out for their team’s best interests, and not just Harden’s. As an organization, you never want to give a top-10 player away for less than market value. It could cripple your franchise for the next 5-10 years.

The Wizards must keep all of their options open in the coming weeks and months. No, I don’t believe Tommy Sheppard should openly shop Beal around the league, but if teams start calling, he definitely needs to pick up. The way the season is unfolding, it would be ludicrous for the Wizards not to do their due diligence. If a contending team out there feels like Beal may be their missing link and they’re willing to give up a haul to acquire him, then Sheppard must pull the trigger!

For now, it’s fine to play the waiting game and let Beal’s trade value skyrocket. But if the Wizards can’t right the ship soon, it may be time to free Beal.