The Washington Wizards will reportedly wait to see how the team performs when point guard John Wall returns from a ruptured Achilles next season before deciding whether to make shooting guard Bradley Beal available in trade talks.
The 26-year-old University of Florida product has enjoyed a terrific season as the Wizards' lone go-to scorer with Wall sidelined. He's averaged 29.1 points, which ranks fifth in the NBA, to go along with 6.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 2.5 threes through 46 appearances.
An argument could be made his trade value will never be higher than the upcoming offseason because his five-year, $127.2 million contract is scheduled to end after the 2020-21 campaign.
Other teams would likely be willing to give up more assets for Beal during the summer than waiting until the deadline given his impending free agency.
That said, the Wizards will face pressure to move back toward contention next season. They are three games behind the Orlando Magic for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference but have just a 14 percent chance to make the postseason, per FiveThirtyEight.
It would mark Washington's second straight playoff-less season, and the franchise hasn't advanced beyond the second round since 1979, a drought that was expected to end during the Wall-Beal era.
"Honestly, I thought that was kind of the easy way out," Beal said. "It'll feel more meaningful and powerful knowing that I grinded it out doing it in D.C. It's pretty much my team, I'm the franchise here, so it was kind of destined for me to kind of mold it from here."
The Wizards would have the foundation for success with their backcourt tandem back in place next season, but it's still going to take some roster upgrades to compete with the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the conference's contenders.