Bradley Beal Expects Rumors About His Wizards Future: 'S--t, They're Starting Now'

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 3, 2021

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is aware that rumors regarding his future with the team are about to pick up now that he is set to enter the final year of his contract.

Beal said the following while addressing the media after the Wizards fell 129-112 to the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in Game 5 of their first-round series, which resulted in Washington's elimination:

"Ultimately, I'm in control. I think that's my biggest thing. People are going to report whatever they want, but I know where my mind is and I know if it's not coming from the horse's mouth, then it's going to be rumors. I expect them. S--t, they're starting now.

"So it doesn't change anything. I guess it's going to increase a lot more this year with me going into the last year of my deal, but for me, I'm just relaxing, resting my body, and we'll evaluate all that when summer comes."

Beal signed a two-year extension in 2019, and although he does have a player option for 2022-23, the expectation is that he will decline it in pursuit of a max contract unless he signs an extension before then.

The 27-year-old Beal is coming off the best season of his career, as he was named an All-Star for the third time and finished second in the scoring race to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

Beal averaged 31.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.2 three-pointers made and 1.2 steals per game in 60 appearances while shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from long range.

He also performed at a high level in the play-in games to get Washington into the playoffs and then averaged 30.0 points per game against the Sixers.

After his season came to an end Wednesday, Beal had no interest in discussing his future, saying: "I haven't even ... we're not gonna think about that or even talk about it right now. ... I haven't thought about none of that as of yet."

Beal would be a hot name on the trade market this offseason should Washington make him available. If not, he would likely be the top name on the free-agent market next offseason.

He has spent his entire nine-year NBA career with the Wizards, and he has gotten progressively better with each passing season to the point that he is now one of the league's top scorers.

While Beal and Russell Westbrook were enough to net the Wizards the No. 8 seed, they are a long way away from contending for a championship. And Beal has never been on a championship contender during his Wizards tenure.

It is essentially all up to Beal whether he wants to remain with the Wizards or explore opportunities elsewhere. If he makes it clear that an extension isn't on the table, one can only assume the Washington front office will move him, and his game would seemingly fit with any contending team.