For years, NBA fans across the league have salivated at the idea of trading for Bradley Beal. Despite Beal remaining loyal to the Washington Wizards every chance he gets, Beal is seen as the ultimate acquirable All-Star because of his situation.
Over the past three seasons, Beal has been putting up insane scoring numbers as the main man in D.C. Since the start of the 2018 season, Beal has averaged 28.7 points over 199 games. However, he was rarely rewarded for his individual success. Beal was snubbed from the 2020 All-Star game and failed to make an All-NBA team that season despite finishing as the NBA’s second-leading scorer. He missed the playoffs in 2019 and 2020 after playing postseason basketball in four of his first five seasons. And what further convinced fans around the NBA that Beal was available was Beal himself. Despite saying he wanted to stay in Washington, the meme-able faces of utter exhaustion told a different story.
In today’s NBA, a superstar that can’t make it work where he is can only do one thing: request a trade. Or at least that’s the popular belief. But Bradley Beal bucked that trend, and he’s finally getting rewarded for it.
Bradley Beal stuck with the Washington Wizards when everyone told him to leave. Now, he’s getting rewarded for it.
Beal, who has said he’d like to retire a Wizard, has proven that superstars don’t need to jump ship at the first opportunity. Unlike other stars who have faced adversity on less than stellar teams, Beal stuck it out. He didn’t demand a trade to a contender. Instead, he helped elevate the Wizards to their first playoff appearance since 2018. Instead, he caught the eye of Russell Westbrook, who, after having a rough ride in Houston, credits Beal for being one of the reasons he’s now in D.C. Instead, Beal kept balling until his excellence was impossible to ignore, even if he was doing it as a member of the Wizards.
After landing atop the snub lists last season, Bradley Beal is finally All-NBA for the first time in his career. He made the third team along with Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Rudy Gobert. And judging by his response to the award, it doesn’t sound like Beal has plans of leaving Washington now that he has gotten his accolades.
"I am humbled and honored to be named to the All-NBA Third Team. I would not be able to achieve this honor without my coaching staff, teammates, and our great fans who gave me unbelievable support during an unprecedented season. I am excited to get back to work this summer and building on what we were ale to accomplish."
At every turn, Bradley Beal could have left the Wizards for a “super team.” He could have demanded a trade and made a mess in Washington so that he could join the contender of his choosing. He could have blamed his situation for the snubbery. But he didn’t.
Instead, Beal doubled down on being in D.C. and is currently under contract through the 2023 season. After his All-NBA selection, the Wizards can offer him a massive four-year extension on top of that, worth up to $181 million. Not quite a supermax, but close to it.
Thankfully, Beal is finally getting his (well-deserved) flowers, and the best may still be yet to come for the 27-year-old guard. Obviously, this is a win for Beal, plus it’s a win for the Wizards, who now have more leverage to keep Beal in D.C. But it should also be a win for all the less-than-large market teams trying to build around their up-and-coming stars while bigger and better teams try to poach them.
Beal’s All-NBA selection is proof that running to a contender when the road gets rough isn’t the only path towards success for frustrated stars. Hopefully, other players and teams take note.