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Bradley Beal feels vindicated by sticking with Wizards through trade buzz

Wizards star Bradley Beal

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 19: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards reacts after a play against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Capital One Arena on April 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

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Bradley Beal was reportedly frustrated about getting criticized for not requesting a trade from the Wizards.

Well, his loyalty to Washington looks a little better now. The Wizards have won five straight to climb into the thick of the postseason race.

Beal, via Chases Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:

“It speaks volumes. It’s always tough because when my name was buzzing, that’s all I heard early in the year is ‘trade Beal, trade Beal.’ It wasn’t anything other than that,” Beal said. “So, me knowing who I am and just sticking through it, that’s a testament to what we did as a team this year.”

It’s truly great Beal feels proud of what the Wizards are accomplishing. A championship needn’t be the only goal. A flawed team, Washington is at least competing for attainable goals. The play-in isn’t nothing.

But also reality check: The Wizards are just 24-33. They’re unlikely to reach a significantly higher level in the foreseeable future. This late surge hurts their draft position and odds of getting someone who elevates the franchise.

That’s important perspective as Beal enters his contract year. This fall, he’ll become eligible for an extension. Or he could hit 2022 unrestricted free agency. If Beal doesn’t sign an extension, Washington will be operating without a net in deciding whether to trade him by the 2022 trade deadline or trying to re-sign him that summer.

Beal has given every indication he prioritizes loyalty to the Wizards. His satisfaction with his current situation is even more reason to believe he’ll stay.