Even Bradley Beal and Tommy Sheppard can probably laugh at this point.
No matter what they do, no matter how strongly they deny them, the trade rumors surrounding Beal have proven uniquely resilient. It is honestly fair to wonder if they can be stopped at all, and whether it is even worth trying to fight them.
Just consider all that the Beal trade rumors have persisted through. Beal signed a contract extension just eight months ago. He can't be traded now or really anytime soon. The earliest he could even be dealt is this fall, when the NBA's offseason takes place, which right now looks like October into November.
Sheppard, the Wizards' general manager, has done many interviews at this point where he was asked about Beal. He usually touts getting the extension done and then says he's going nowhere.
Beal has also said many, many times he is committed to the Wizards. He has specifically addressed leaving to join a contender, and how he doesn't want to go that route.
Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, has even gone on the record to affirm Beal's plans. So, you have the player himself, his agent and the GM all essentially saying 'nothing to see here.'
Along the way, and on top of all of that, a worldwide pandemic shut the league down and literally paused all transactions. Still, more Beal trade rumors.
Really, the Beal situation - which isn't really a situation at all - proves something, that NBA trade rumors can survive just about anything. And there may be nothing the Wizards or Beal can do to control the storyline.
Ultimately, the rumors can come from many different directions. A recent report linked Beal to the Brooklyn Nets. Then, on Tuesday, another one came out grouping Beal's name in with the Lakers, Heat and Pelicans. Both rumors generated from sources outside the Wizards organization.
And that is important to note. Because in the NBA, or in sports for that matter, the rumor doesn't have to come from the Wizards, it can come from 29 other teams. If another team has had internal discussions or has placed a call to show interest, that's enough to make it a story and sometimes for the Wizards to even respond.
When it comes to Beal, it's easy to see why fans and media overlook the evidence. He's a really good player on a non-contending team. That is generally the formula for players on the move.
And maybe someday the dynamic does indeed shift. Things can change abruptly, especially in the NBA. Paul George famously signed an extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder (and made a documentary about the process) then just months later jumped to the Clippers in a trade.
But Beal and the Wizards have made it clear they are all on board together specifically to give his partnership with John Wall at least one more shot. And that would require Beal sticking around at the very least into the following season, which begins in December.
So really, barring something unforeseen, Beal's future isn't worth circling back to until after the 2020-21 season, whenever that will ultimately be. Or, if things wen't terribly south next year, maybe it becomes a thing by the 2021 trade deadline.
Still, we're talking about a long time away. There is no reason Beal's future should constantly be in the forefront. But NBA trade rumors sometimes don't circulate in reality, so expect them to carry on.
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