Wizards' Bradley Beal Says Criticism Around $251M Contract 'Comes with the Territory'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVOctober 6, 2022

SAITAMA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 1: Kyle Kuzma and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards during the NBA Japan Games 2022 Saturday Night presented by Rakuten and Nissan at Saitama Super Arena on October 1, 2022 in Saitama, Japan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Bradley Beal says he's not worried about whatever criticism may come in the aftermath of his signing a five-year, $251 million contract with the Wizards this summer.

"It comes with the territory," Beal said on the Old Man and the Three podcast (15:27 mark). "Everybody's gonna have an opinion. If I go 0-for-10 in a game, somebody will be like, 'Oh, look what they did.' It's gonna happen. I can't pay attention to that at all."

Beal has found his name in trade talks consistently over the past few seasons but quelled any concerns about his future by inking a long-term deal in Washington over the summer. His guaranteed money total is second in the NBA behind Nikola Jokic, the reigning back-to-back MVP.

Beal is decidedly not an MVP candidate. He's made only one NBA team and three All-Star teams at age 29. Even at his peak, Beal is best served as a second-best player on a contending team.

It's fair to wonder whether the Wizards will be getting peak Beal years moving forward. He's coming off an injury-plagued 2021-22 campaign that saw him limited to 40 games and perform below expectations when he was on the floor. After averaging more than 30 points per game in each of the previous two seasons, Beal averaged just 23.2 a night and shot a career-low 30.0 percent from three-point range.

If Beal isn't dropping 30 a night, he's probably going to face significant criticism—particularly given the peak of Washington's current roster construction is likely a first-round exit. Fans may understandably wonder if the Wizards would have been better off bottoming out, trading Beal and joining the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.