The last few season in Washington haven’t been ideal, to say the least. Even when both Bradley Beal and John Wall were healthy, they were never quite able to get over the hump in the Eastern Conference. As such, the continuous losing without showing much progress has threatened to take its toll.
Over the summer and throughout this season, there has been plenty of chatter surrounding Beal’s future with the team. Beal signed a two-year, $72 million extension on his current contract back in October, which means he could still become a free agent again in 2022, but if he has his way about, Beal apparently wants to break with the conventional thinking of the majority of today’s stars and remain with the organization that drafted him for the remainder of his career.
Here’s what Beal said on the issue in a first-person essay narrated to Marc Spears of The Undefeated:
Wanting to have my jersey retired in Washington one day played a factor in me re-signing. Every night we walk into that arena, there’s five names up there. Those are some of the five greatest to ever touch a basketball. To be on pace to breaking the records that I am now and to be here for eight years already, that’s special. And coming into the prime of my career, you don’t know how much longer you have.
For me, I look at Kobe, I look at D-Wade [Dwyane Wade], I look at Dirk [Nowitzki], U.D. [Udonis Haslem], how they can stay in one situation for a long time.
I hate change. If it happens, it happens. But if I can control it, I will finish in D.C.
Beal went on to reference Damian Lillard and how he’s consistently said he’d prefer to stay in Portland, but admitting that he might be “loyal to a fault.” Previously, Beal has admitted that he reached out to Dame and others, like Ray Allen, before deciding on signing his extension.
Beal made a few waves earlier this year when he was outspoken about his perceived snub from the All-Star Game and even briefly engaged in a back-and-forth with Charles Barkley about it. Regardless, he’s continued to perform at a high level, becoming just the third player in NBA history with back-to-back 53-point games last month.
Still just 26, Beal has a long career ahead of him, and his most recent comments should provide hope for fans who’d like to see him stay in D.C.. As always, a lot could happen between now and the next time he becomes a free agent in a couple of years.
(Via The Undefeated)