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Wizards star Bradley Beal on contract extension: I’m being selfish for first time in career

Wizards star Bradley Beal

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 13: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards leaves the court after the loss to the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on December 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. 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 C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)

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Wizards star Bradley Beal has delivered a (near-)consistent message: He’s loyal to Washington.

But he’s not rushing to sign the max extension – likely to be worth $181,301,299 over four years – the Wizards are offering.

Beal, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

“I got time, so I kinda hold the cards right now. And one, I’ve never been in this position. I’m kinda embracing that, being able to kinda dictate how I want my future to be and where I want it to be,” Beal said on “Posted Up.” “And at the same time, I’m not gonna make that grand commitment and it doesn’t work. Ultimately, you have to be selfish at some point and for probably the first time in my career, Year 10, I am. And so I’m kinda taking advantage of it in a way.

Washington has built a solid team around Beal that, at 15-15, is in the thick of the playoff race. The Wizards don’t look like a budding championship contender. But they’re far better than the previous couple years, when Beal was set on staying in Washington.

The Wizards’ have competed well this season despite Beal struggling. He’s not ducking responsibility for that. When he talks about being selfish, it’s about his long-term career.

Beal has earned the right to explore 2022 unrestricted free agency. Would it reflect poorly on him if he left after saying things like he wants to retire with Washington and even “I’d die in that Wizards jersey”? Yes. But players sometimes say those types of things – though rarely going as far as Beal – then leave.

Another reason for Beal not to sign the extension: His max contract in free agency projects to be worth $242 million over five years. Delaying his next deal could just be about securing the most compensation – from Washington.

But if allowing him to reach unrestricted free agency in hopes he re-signs, the Wizards would be taking a huge risk. He could walk for no return. They must assess his intentions before the trade deadline.

Which means paying attention when he talks about being selfish for the first time in his career.