Loyalty is an increasingly rare commodity in the NBA, and it slices both ways. In the era of player empowerment, stars have much great influence on their careers, and tenures continue to shrink as the anxiety to compete for championships puts pressure on both players and teams to constantly re-evaluate their choices.
Championship windows close fast, and superstar pairings have a shorter and shorter shelf life — think of Chris Paul and Houston, or Paul George in OKC. If you don’t see significant progress toward the ultimate goal in 2-3 years, the temptation to start considering other options ramps up significantly.
But as with everything, there are outliers. Damian Lillard and his unwavering commitment to Portland is a prime example. That’s why, for Bradley Beal, when it came time to decide his future with the Wizards last October, he reached out to the Blazers’ superstar (and others) to get their perspective, which ultimately prompted him to stay in Washington for the time being.
Here’s what he told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes in a recent sitdown (starts at the 2:10 mark):
“I’m a little bit with Dame on this because I even talked to him a little bit over the summer and kind of just gauged where he was,” Beal said. “I talked to Ray Allen, I talked to a lot of guys who have kind of been in the same predicament. Okay, what do you wanna do? Do you want to build on what you have or jump ship and see what you can do somewhere else? And when I was evaluating that, it’s like the grass ain’t always greener on the other side.”
Beal’s extension — two years, $72 million — still offers him some of that coveted flexibility. The deal goes into effect at the start of next season and includes a player option for the second year. If Beal ultimately decides to decline that player option, it would make him eligible for the largest contract in league history, according to ESPN, which would give the Wizards an enormous advantage if they want to keep him around long-term.
Beal also sounded off on All-Star fan voting and offered an update on John Wall, who has been back on the court practicing with the team in recent weeks, although there is no timetable for his return. For now, Beal and the Wizards are focusing on trying to make a push for the final playoff spot in the East as we turn the corner into the second half of the season.