While the Miami Heat were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks during the playoffs, the Washington Wizards didn’t fare much better, eking out one just win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
After being eliminated by the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference, Wizards star Bradley Beal, who scored 32 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in Wednesday night’s loss, was inundated with questions about his future in Washington.
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The three-time All-Star is in the final year of his contract, and while he has a player option for 2022-23, it’s expected that Beal will decline it in order to obtain a max contract. That’s if Washington doesn’t get Beal to sign an extension before then.
“I haven’t thought about none of that, as of yet,” Beal said of his future with the Wizards. “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***, they’re starting now.”
Truthfully, the rumors started months ago. Back in February, multiple reports linked the Heat to the 27-year-old Wizards guard. The Ringer‘s Kevin O’Connor repeatedly said that Miami “really wants” Beal in a trade while the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson cited sources saying the Heat have a “high level of interest” in him.
While Beal isn’t ready to discuss free agency, his comments on staying in Washington greatly differ from what his team was saying earlier in the season.
On February 10, Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein, who’s represented him since the 2012 draft, revealed to Yahoo Sports that his client made a final decision on whether or not he will stay in D.C.
“He doesn’t want to quit on something,” said Bartelstein of Priority Sports & Entertainment. “He’s an incredibly loyal guy, and he wants to always feel like he’s done everything he can to help something or someone be successful. It’s the way he was raised and what his values are based upon. It’s ingrained in him. It’s what makes him, in my mind, so unique. He’s all about the right things.”
Beal Is Focused on Resting His Body, ‘We’ll Evaluate All That When Summer Comes’
As for why Beal would choose to stick with a losing team in his prime, Bartlestein told Yahoo! Sports in February: “It’s the team that drafted him, the team that’s invested in him, and he desperately wants to make them a championship contender. He wants to make it happen. That’s the way he is. He’s not looking for the easy way out. He challenges himself. The evolution of his game speaks volumes about how committed he is and how hard he works.”
On June 2, Beal sounded less confident about staying with the Wizards but refused to give the rumor mill any credence. “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.”
If Washington makes Beal available this offseason, he will be the hottest name in free agency. The 27-year-old is coming off one of the best campaigns of his career, Beal averaged 31.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.2 three-pointers, and 1.2 steals per game.