Russell Westbrook may have requested a trade out of Washington, but he did not leave former teammate Bradley Beal in the lurch.
Bill Oram, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Westbrook pushed Beal to also request a trade from the Wizards, an opportunity which Beal declined. The All-Star guard did ultimately give Westbrook his blessing to pursue a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, which was completed ahead of the 2021 NBA draft.
Beal has long been considered among the most likely stars to ask out of his current situation. The Wizards haven't gotten past the second round of the playoffs in Beal's career and have no obvious avenue toward ascending to contendership in the near future. Beal, meanwhile, has blossomed into one of the game's most dynamic scorers, a near-ideal modern 2 who could fit into any lineup leaguewide.
It's been a surprise to watch Beal continue to steadfastly deny any reports he would be requesting a trade. He categorized the move as taking "the easy way out" in January 2020 and has largely stayed silent amid rumors that have run contrary to his public comments.
The Wizards have understandably held on to Beal, but that may wind up backfiring. Beal can become a free agent after the 2021-22 season and leave Washington without so much as a single draft pick in compensation. If the Wizards get off to a slow start, it may behoove the team to trade Beal themselves rather than wait around for a request that may never come.
With Westbrook gone and no co-star replacing him in Washington, the Wizards are Beal's alone—very alone—this season.