As Wednesday’s deadline for players to pick up or decline their player options for the 2022-23 season approaches, there are some big names still waiting to make their official decision.
The most intriguing of them is Kyrie Irving, as his potential departure from the Nets could lead to Kevin Durant asking out and one of the wildest bidding wars on the trade market that we’ve ever seen. However, in terms of players who would command the most attention on the free agent market, none are bigger than Bradley Beal, as teams have long coveted the Wizards All-Star guard as he’s been in trade rumors for years. Beal opting out to become a free agent is expected, but it remains to be seen if he will open his free agency up to other teams or not.
Plenty would be interested in Beal, as he’d have many contenders vying for him in a sign-and-trade, but it appears he will once again rebuff the interest of outside teams to stay in the nation’s capital. Kevin Pelton of ESPN cited Adrian Wojnarowski as reporting Beal is “very likely” to ink a five-year max in Washington when free agency opens.
Per Wojnarowski, Beal is very likely to decline the option and re-sign with Washington on a five-year deal worth a projected $248 million that would take him through age 33.
That will probably slow rumors of teams trying to pry Beal out of Washington for about a year before rumors pop up again, as Beal has been a constant target for years despite his insistence he wants to stay with the Wizards. How Washington navigates this offseason in terms of building around Beal will be interesting, as GM Tommy Sheppard has insisted they’re comfortable having Beal play point guard next year, despite the belief of many that they need to bolster their point guard spot to be competitive in the suddenly deep East playoff race.
For Beal, it’d be hard to walk away from a quarter billion if it’s put on the table, and he clearly likes living in D.C., even if there would be quicker paths to being a contender elsewhere.