Report: Bradley Beal Prefers To Stay With The Wizards But Is ‘Not Rejecting’ The Idea Of A Trade

After a promising 10-3 start, the Washington Wizards have struggled during a lengthy 13-24 stretch that’s brought them to 23-27 and a game back of a play-in berth. Amid all that, star guard Bradley Beal has grown less firm in his commitment to the franchise, according to a report from The Athletic’s David Aldridge and Joshua Robbins.

Beal is in the first year of a two-year, $70 million extension, though that second year is a player option, so he could decline it and become a free agent this summer.

Although there are “no indications the Wizards are seriously considering trading Beal” and his preference is to remain in Washington, “for the first time in a long time … he’s not rejecting out of hand the notion of a trade elsewhere.”

The primary source of Beal’s potential discontent is uncertainty “about whether the Wizards can surround him with difference-making talent that will make them a regular playoff contender,” Aldridge and Robbins wrote. Perhaps that worry is why the team is reportedly targeting All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis ahead of next week’s trade deadline.

In a recent interview with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller, Beal said another play-in tournament would be “a step back in a lot of ways.” Washington is currently the 11 seed, six games back of clearing the play-in altogether and securing a top-six seed.

“The team’s nosedive since its hot start has frustrated Beal, leaving him less sanguine about just taking the big bag next summer and staying in Washington,” Aldridge and Robbins reported. “His preference is to remain with the Wizards. Neither Beal nor his representatives, though, have officially asked for him to be moved with a week left before the deadline.”

Aldridge and Robbins also reported that Wizards governor Ted Leonsis is staunchly against a full rebuild, “which would begin by dealing Beal.” If Beal becomes a free agent, he’s eligible to sign a supermax deal with Washington worth $241 million across five seasons.