Bradley Beal made headlines on Friday afternoon when he said in an All-Star Q&A that he wants to stay with the Wizards for many years to come, that he hopes to “retire in this jersey” and that he is “all about loyalty.”
That suggested he will not become the next NBA star to request a trade. But the topic of a trade request was never actually discussed.
So, a few hours later, NBC Sports Washington caught up with Beal for a 1-on-1 interview at the All-Star Celebrity Game to expand on those thoughts.
Beal explained in detail why he has no plans to ask the Wizards for a trade, and how he doesn’t envision a scenario where that could happen.
“I mean, look where that’s gotten a lot of guys now. It doesn’t always play out in your favor,” he told NBC Sports Washington.
“So, I’m thinking like what good could that bring me? In my head, that’s just more turmoil for the team. It’s another distraction."
Beal, 25, has two years left on his contract with the Wizards. He is due $27.1 million next season and $28.8 million for the 2020-21 campaign.
Beal was picked third overall by the Wizards in the 2012 NBA Draft. He has since developed into a two-time All-Star and has helped lead the Wizards to the playoffs four times in the past five years.
This season, however, things have gone south for the team. John Wall was lost for the year due to a torn Achilles and Dwight Howard has appeared in only nine games due to back surgery.
The Wizards have made five trades since training camp, including ones to ship mainstays Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris out of the organization.
They are currently 10 games under .500 at the All-Star break, which has put the spotlight on Beal’s future. The formula for a blockbuster trade usually includes a star on a losing team, and Beal fits the bill.
Beal, though, can already imagine the drawbacks of requesting a trade. He sees the mess that Anthony Davis and the Pelicans are dealing with in New Orleans and doesn't want that for himself.
"I always feel like if I requested a trade, and I didn’t get traded, there’s no way in hell I’m gonna be able to go and play with my teammates who know I don’t want to be here. That’s mind-boggling to me," he said.
People change their minds, and Beal very well could. But he insists he has no thoughts of leaving the Wizards and says the speculation can effectively end.
“Until the team doesn’t want me anymore, I’m gonna be here,” he said. “I’m here. I’m a Wizard, day in and day out. They pay me and I have to show up and do my work. Until that changes, that’s who I’m loyal to.”
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- Much-Needed Break: Wizards limp into All-Star break losers of 7 of 10
- Otto Goes Off: Porter posts career-high numbers one week after trade
- Too Many Steps: Refs explain why Beal's five steps didn't count as traveling
No one knows when Bryce Harper will sign a contract – perhaps not even Harper himself – but he is fueling speculation every chance he gets.
The Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins posted a picture from the team’s spring training site in Clearwater, Florida.
This itself is not newsworthy. Plenty of players have posted pictures of their arrivals at spring training. Scroll through the comments, however, and you will notice that Harper commented “Suhhhhh kiiiiiiid.” This comes one day after Hoskins commented on a Valentine’s Day post by Harper dedicated to his wife, Kayla.
The Phillies are among the teams rumored to be potential suitors for the 2015 NL MVP. Does this mean Harper is going to sign with one of the Nationals’ biggest rivals and remain in the NL East? No idea. But Harper is doing a good job of holding onto everyone’s attention while he remains undecided.
This is not the first time Harper has fueled speculation via social media.
Hoskins posted this picture on Instagram back in December, with the caption “loading…”
On Super Bowl Sunday, Harper tweeted this:
This week, Harper unfollowed a number of Washington Capitals on Twitter, according to Caps winger Tom Wilson:
The #Nationals pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Wednesday and Bryce Harper still hasn't signed with a team. Where will he end up? Well, the #Capitals Tom Wilson may have a hint... #ALLCAPS @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/YaReRb6zOL
The #Nationals pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Wednesday and Bryce Harper still hasn't signed with a team. Where will he end up? Well, the #Capitals Tom Wilson may have a hint... #ALLCAPS @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/YaReRb6zOL— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) February 12, 2019
In January, MLB The Show’s twitter account posted a series of simulations showcasing how some team’s seasons might look with Harper in the fold. He quoted some of those tweets with some cryptic emojis:
That same account also tweeted “You'll want to keep an eye on this account tomorrow... just saying,” back on January 28th.
This fueled speculation that the video game’s cover would be released the next day and Harper, as the cover athlete, would reveal his destination by appearing on the cover in his new team’s uniform. The cover was released, but it featured Harper in a plain white hoodie.
For now, Harper watch continues. As a matter of fact, you should go ahead and refresh your Twitter and Instagram feeds – odds are he posted another cryptic tweet or comment while you were reading this.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
- Back Again: Hellickson is where he wants to be
- Scherzer Says: Starting pitcher shakes leadership norms
- New Kid on the Block: Corbin's first Spring Training in FL
- Spring Without A Star: Harper remains on the open market