Bradley Beal has remained loyal to the Washington Wizards, deciding to stay with the franchise long-term instead of fleeing for a team that might have a better chance to win an NBA title.
The three-time All-Star provided some insight on his decision to stay with the Wizards, telling Laura Schreffler of Haute Living that winning a championship in Washington would be much more satisfying than doing it anywhere else:
“I feel like if I win a championship here in DC, the grind of it, with everything I’ve been through, all the adversity and ups and downs, that would make a win that much sweeter, make me appreciate it that much more. And I do love the grind, and to sometimes go against the odds.”
“People always look at me like I’m crazy, but I have a huge desire to want to make it work here and win here. This is the team that drafted me. They’re super loyal, I have a great relationship with ownership, and a great relationship with our front office. Plus, there’s not a lot of chances in the careers of NBA players to be notated as the franchise guy, you know? To be able to have that opportunity, to be able to be in a position to where I can write my own story, that’s everything.”
After opting out of the last year of his contract that would have paid him $38.5 million, Beal signed a five-year, $251 million max contract extension in June to remain with the Wizards.
Beal had been included in a number of trade rumors before he agreed to terms with the Wizards. His new contract contains a no-trade clause, per ESPN's Bobby Marks, which only reiterates his commitment to the franchise.
When he put pen to paper on his extension, Beal also affirmed his commitment to winning a title in Washington in a statement:
"I have been blessed to call the city of Washington my home and the Wizards organization and our fans my family for the last 10 years, growing as a player, a leader, a husband and a father along the way. Today represents such a special moment in my life. I could not be more grateful to have the opportunity to continue to partner with Ted, Tommy, Wes and the entire organization in moving forward to achieve our dream of bringing championships to D.C. and, just as importantly, to help our community continue to accomplish amazing things together."
The Wizards selected Beal third overall in the 2012 NBA draft, and he has been a staple in the team's lineup ever since, earning three All-Star selections. However, Washington hasn't made it past the Eastern Conference semifinals since Beal was drafted and has missed the postseason altogether in three of the last four seasons.
The Wizards finished 12th in the Eastern Conference last season with a 35-47 record, though Beal missed half the year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist, which only made matters worse.
Given Washington's lack of postseason success over the years, and the fact that the franchise still likely won't be able to contend with the likes of the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, Beal could have easily taken the easy way out to join a title contender.
Instead, he's now locked into a future in Washington, and the franchise now must build around him to pursue a championship.