Washington Wizards star guard Bradley Beal has joined the league’s ever-growing rumour mill ahead of the NBA Draft and free agency period. After years of stating his loyalty to the franchise and love for D.C., it appears that he’s now considering a new basketball home.

Beal has been with the Wizards since he was drafted by the team third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft. Since then, he has grown from a sensational rookie, to offensive sparkplug, and into an All-Star level player that also happens to be a classic scoring machine.

As such, the supposedly inevitable departure from Washington has been one of the most anticipated NBA news over the last couple of years. As opposed to similar situations, though, which featured countless stars leaving their teams in their prime, Beal and the Wizards never came close to a ‘divorce.’ There weren’t even any confirmed serious talks about any trade requests until now.

Beal is basically an adopted son in Washington, and him leaving would be tough for the team, but after all that has happened, we can probably expect him to receive love from the fans regardless. He has stayed with the city and franchise for 11 years, and it that short time, he was part of the Wizards’ best seasons since the team’s title run in 1979. Further, he also has seven-straight seasons of averaging at least 22 points per game, and that includes his 2019-20 and 2020-21 campaigns, where went for 30.5 and 31.3 PPG, respectively. It was a two-year run that featured a handful of high-scoring performances.

It also feels like it’s time for him and the Wizards to have a fresh start as it may help each other’s cause. The team has missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, and waiting to gel with Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma (as solid as the two were this past year) may not be the way at this stage of his career. Note that Beal is turning 31 next month, and his prime is about to close. He deserves to be with a consistent playoff contender.

The rumors will only intensify in the coming weeks and months, and expect to hear the usual names – that means almost (if not all) big-market teams and championship-level squads.

Now, of course a trade wouldn’t be that easy because as you know, Beal is carrying an enormous contract. He just signed a five-year, $251 million deal last season, and he’ll eat a big chunk of the salary cap wherever he goes. Here’s a breakdown of what he’s owed:

  • $46.7M in ’23-24
  • $50.2M in ’24-25
  • $53.6M in ’25-26 
  • $57.1M in ’26-27 (player option)

By the end of the contract, he’ll be almost 35, and by that point, he’s likely to be somewhere in the supporting cast and not the first or even the second fiddle. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.

For now, it’s just great to ponder a new home for such a skilled player. Hopefully, it’s around a solid core so we can see him deep in the playoffs, showcasing his offensive repertoire.