Bradley Beal said he’d never request a trade from the Wizards. He said he wanted to retire with Washington. He even said, “I’d die in that Wizards jersey.”
In case you didn’t take Beal at his word, here are some anonymous sources.
Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic:
Beal has so far expressed he wants to remain in Washington and has not indicated he prefers to be traded, sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic.
He is privately frustrated and confused with the perpetual portrayal of his situation, according to sources familiar with his thinking. After seeing other players take criticism for requesting to leave teams, those sources say Beal feels he’s getting nitpicked for choosing to stay in D.C., where he began his NBA career in 2012.
With Beal showing so much loyalty, the Wizards are refusing to trade him.
In the last few years, Beal has advanced through stardom toward superstardom. But Washington has gone just 32-50 and 25-47 the previous two seasons and started this year 4-12.
In an era of star team-ups and player movement, speculation swirls around Beal. Stars on bad teams typically seek greener pastures, and Beal has shown the frustration that often precedes a move. Trade and free-agent possibilities are intriguing.
Personally, I appreciate Beal’s loyalty to the Wizards. I’m not always convinced it’s “best” for his career. But I’m glad there’s a star or two (Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard) who takes pride in trying to pull his franchise through obstacles rather than just running from problems. The league would be far less interesting if every star held the exact same priorities. I like that the NBA has players like Lillard and Beal, just as I enjoy the league having players like James Harden and Anthony Davis.
But not everyone agrees with my outlook, which is really the point.
There are MANY people who comment on basketball. Some criticize players for not winning enough, regardless of the context. Some criticize players for taking shortcuts to winning. Some even do both. But it’s mostly not a story of hypocrisy. With such a large number of critics, Beal is bound to hear it from one side or the other.
Unless he wins in Washington.
That’s the only unassailable triumph, like Dirk Nowitzki had with the Mavericks in 2011. That solidified him as the ultimate franchise player.
Of course, Nowitzki is hailed with that honorific only because it’s so difficult to win that way. Beal appears unlikely to be another exception. The Wizards are bad and short on assets to get good. Maybe Masai Ujiri could make a difference. It’s not impossible – just extremely difficult.
Beal must continue to reevaluate his desire to stay in Washington. The noise isn’t dissipating, not while the Wizards continue to lose and Beal remains highly coveted around the league. He even occasionally hints at an openness to change teams.
But he has been far more resolute on remaining in Washington. That attitude has persisted through thick and thin. Mostly thin.
Beal ought to realize he’ll hear critics no matter what he chooses. There are just too many people speaking on the NBA for every opinion not to be covered.
Beal sounds like his mind is made up on staying with the Wizards. His words are far more than lip service. If his commitment to Washington is truly that deep, he should stick with it rather than letting some outsiders influence how he feels.