Bradley Beal was supposed to be the crown jewel of free agency this off-season. He was starting to feel like things were falling into place for that to happen on Tuesday when he was reported by Michael Scotto of Hoopshype that Beal would turn down his $ 36.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season and become an unlimited free agent.
A few minutes later, Beal took to Twitter with this reaction:
Over the weekend news surfaced that Beal actually made it to decision about his future but he refused to go into details at this time. Exactly what Beal meant by his post is left open for interpretation. From his reaction, it doesn’t appear that Scotto and Hoopshype have talked to him about it, so Beal is probably wondering where they got their information.
While I think Beal will end up rejecting his option to become an unlimited free agent, he clearly wasn’t ready to share that decision yet. If so, Beal opens up many options and paths to pursue.
At present, Boston has the best odds of Beal’s landing, if he were to give up, followed by Portland, then Miami. Philadelphia has been mentioned regarding Beal, but they’re not even in the first handful of favorite teams to sign him. With their cap and James situation Harden it looks like it is about to receive a short term extension, the chances of the 76ers acquiring Beal are slim. They don’t have the resources to sign and trade, plus their salary cap situation isn’t the best.
The Celtics nation would appreciate if they could find a way to get Beal into the fold. They have the resources and could trade more players for Beal, but having reached the NBA Finals for the first time in over a decade, I’m not sure how eager they would be to break the chemistry in this current squad. The depth of the Celtics has made them so dangerous this season and they should have dived deep into any sign-and-trade scenario for Beal.
Miami and the Heat culture have also been attached to the buzz around where Beal will end up for some time. The Heat would represent an excellent opportunity for Beal to adapt immediately and become the most skilled offensive player on the team. But he shouldn’t be the leader, and he could fit right in place as another cog in Pat Riley’s “culture of heat”.
Of course, speculation about where Beal will land would not be complete without the involvement of the Los Angeles Lakers. We have heard that the Lakers have said they have been interested in Beal since last year. Sign and trade would be the only plausible way for the Lakers to acquire Beal. But aside from Anthony Davis, the Lakers have no one else who would pique Washington’s interest in a trade.
I don’t see the Wizards mistaking Beal with Los Angeles for Russell Westbrook and a couple of other players in return. LA can’t even throw draft picks against the Wizards as they don’t have many. Unless they just wanna take on Russ’ contract expiring and start rebuilding from there. Hence, it will take a miracle for the Lakers to land Beal without going through Davis in the process. I just don’t see this happening right now.
Although Beal has not indicated his decision, we know that he has made one. He just doesn’t give us the secret. But it looks like he played his last game as a member of the Wizards organization. Bradley turns 29 on June 28 and is at his absolute peak as a professional athlete. Time to go somewhere and at least compete for a championship chance. We all know it won’t happen anytime soon in Washington, DC.