Before Miami faces off against Washington for the third time this season on February 5, Wizards star Bradley Beal opened up about his honest thoughts on his Eastern Conference opponents, in particular, Heat star Jimmy Butler.
Beal, 27, who notched 32 points, eight rebounds, and four assists during his team’s 103-100 win against the Heat on Wednesday night, only had love and respect for the five-time All-Star.
“Jimmy is an unbelievable player,” said Beal. “He’s a star in our league, a true leader. It’s always competitive when we play. He always just wants to win, whatever it looks like.”
“He always takes the hardest, tough defensive challenge,” Beal continued. “And it’s always competitive. I have nothing but respect for Jimmy.”
Beal and Butler, 31, undoubtedly two of the most talented ballers in the NBA, are doing their best to pull their teams out of the gutter this season. While the Heat head into Friday’s tilt with a 7-14 record while sitting in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards are right behind them in 14th place with a 5-13 record.
“It’s tough,” Beal said of the Wizards’ losing streak. “I’m not going to sit here and be naive. It’s tough. We want to win, and I want to win.”
Butler has also lamented on his team’s shortcomings. “Nothing’s really ever as bad as it ever seems, or as good as it seems at the same time,” he said. “So once again, we know what we need to do. It’s said all the time. It’s all about us going out there and doing it. Ain’t no schemes. It’s not that. We know what we’re capable of and we know supposed to be doing. It’s just up to us to go do it.”
The Heat take on the Wizards on February 5, at 8 p.m. ET at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Beal Also Shared High Compliments for the Heat’s Bam Adebayo
Beal didn’t just have compliments for Jimmy Buckets, he also complimented the talents of fellow All-Star Bam Adebayo.
“They have big, mobile guys like Bam,” said Beal. “Bam can guard one through five. So my biggest thing was just making sure to try to keep Bam out of as many pick and rolls as possible.”
While it’s nice for Adebayo to receive such praise from his opponent, the 23-year-old former first-round pick kept his focus on the team’s loss while speaking to the media on February 3. The Heat have lost eight of their last nine games and the team’s previous most recent losses, during which the Heat blew the lead in the fourth quarter both times, has hit Adebayo hard.
“We let two slip away,” Adebayo said of the losses to the Hornets and Wizards. “So the locker room is disappointed. I feel like we have mental lapses or two-minute or three-minute stretches where the other team comes back into the game.”
Rumors Continue to Swirl that Beal Could Be Traded to the Heat
Beal, who’s clearly frustrated with the Wizards’ performance thus far this season, has many wondering if he will opt out of his two-year $72 million contract extension that he signed in October 2019.
However, Beal hasn’t formally requested a trade and doesn’t plan to in the near future, according to The Athletic.
While both Shams Charania and Fred Katz cited sources saying that Beal is “privately frustrated and confused with the perpetual portrayal of his situation,” they also spoke with a rival NBA executive who confirmed the Wizards have no desire to move the two-time All-Star guard.
However, Beal’s sneering looks and body language on the court have caused rumors that he wants out of Washington to swirl around the league. When asked about his reactions during games last week, Beal said his negative stance comes from being tired of losing.
“I’ve got to be better with that,” said Beal of his body language. “I mean, the media’s going to blow it up — I’m mad about losing. If I’m sitting over there laughing and smiling, what is the media going to say then? Like, ‘Oh, he doesn’t take it seriously?’”
“I just hate losing. I hate losing. And I’m going to continue to show pissed-off faces. I try to control them as much as I can, but I don’t like losing.”