The Wizards’ GM Said They Are Still ‘Building Around’ Bradley Beal

Despite what trade machine screenshots from across NBA Twitter might have you believe, Bradley Beal is still not on the trade block, at least according to a recent interview from Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard.

Sheppard appeared on The Lowe Post with ESPN’s Zach Lowe this week and when was asked at the beginning of the interview about Beal’s status with the franchise, Sheppard said, “We’re building this team around Bradley Beal. He’s a tremendous human being. He’s a tremendous player. He’s exactly what we want to have here with the Washington Wizards.”

For those wondering why the Wizards are hanging onto Beal, it mostly seems to center around the fact that they believe they are a better team than they showed in 2020. Sheppard noted that Washington was without John Wall last season and struggled pretty heavily with injuries overall, which partially explains why they fell to the ninth seed and couldn’t even make it into the Eastern Conference play-in game in the Bubble.

“(Beal) carried the franchise through some difficult times,” Sheppard said.

If the Wizards change their minds, Beal is at least technically allowed to be dealt now. Last fall, he signed a one-year extension with the team that effectively took him off the trade market for all of the 2019-20 season. This summer, he has said publicly that he may need to start wielding his leverage to force the Wizards to be more competitive.