Bradley Beal is Staying with the Wizards
Bradley Beal accepted a two-year $72 million-dollar contract extension with a player option in the 2022-23 season. Beal’s contract extension will begin during the 2021-22 season and keep him out of free agency for three more seasons. If Beal decides to decline his player option (in 2022) he would then be eligible to sign a five-year $266 million-dollar contract, which would be the largest contract in NBA history. This is a huge win for the Washington Wizards organization, and the Wizards fanbase. Tommy Sheppard and Ted Leonsis were able to sell Beal on the future direction of this team and proved to Beal that they are trying to build a championship contender.
Beal had been involved in trade speculation rumors since last season, but signing a contract extension laid all of that to rest. The Wizards stood by their stance of not trading Beal, and with this newly signed deal Beal cannot be traded during this season, but can be traded next summer, but it is highly doubtful that Beal is going anywhere.
Expectations for this year
Beal is expected to be the leader of this new Wizards era and help establish the new culture Ted Leonsis and Tommy Sheppard want to incorporate. Beal understands that this year may be a rebuilding year for the Wizards as he stated during the Wizards media day that, “It’s going to be a year of patience, a year of learning, a year of growing.” The Wizards have a young core of Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, and Troy Brown Jr. that Beal has to lead throughout the season, while also having veterans like Isaiah Thomas, C.J. Miles, and Ish Smith. The Wizards front office have put young and hungry talent as well as good locker room veterans around Beal with the hope that the Wizards will compete and play hard.
Where can Beal improveOne area Beal can improve on is his passing and facilitating. With no John Wall, Beal will be the primary focus for teams and stopping Beal will be their main goal. Beal will have the ball in his hands a lot during this season (after just coming off a career high 28.4 usage rate), and he must be able to create plays for his teammates. Beal jumped from 4.5 assists per game with 2.6 turnovers per game in 2017-18 to 5.5 assists per game with 2.7 turnovers per game in 2018-2019. Should Beal develop his passing and facilitating skills further, he will be an even bigger threat to opposing teams. Overall, improving these skills will aide the Wizards as teams will continue to focus their defensive efforts on Beal.