A lopsided loss to the Lakers on Friday night provided what one reporter in Los Angeles viewed as an opportune time to ask Bradley Beal a question many out there were probably wondering themselves. It was a question that, as it played on our postgame show on NBC Sports Washington, you could feel the awkwardness from 3,000 miles away.
Beal has already decided on his future and that he wants to stay in Washington. He made that official by signing a contract extension in October. Though there was speculation he could be traded from Washington to a contender, like the Lakers, that was effectively put to rest by the new contract.
But now that he has seen the Lakers up close, with LeBron James throwing lobs to Anthony Davis and the Lake Show sporting the NBA's best record, does he ever stop to wonder 'what if?'
"I'm good. They're their own men. They make their own decisions," Beal said of James and Davis, who left other teams to join up in L.A.
"At the end of the day, there's no guarantee you'll win a championship by jumping ship. Only one team wins. When it comes down to my decision-making, I really factored that in. It looks great, but the grass isn't always greener."
That should be music to the ears of all Wizards fans. Certainly, Beal wouldn't express regret in that setting, even if he was feeling it. But we already know where Beal truly stands because just over a month ago he committed to the Wizards through at least the 2021-22 season.
If Beal hadn't signed that contract, a similar question-and-answer might be viewed entirely different because there would be room for speculation. Because Beal signed the extension, there is no mystery about his thinking.
Beal can't go anywhere even if he does change his mind in the short-term. Per NBA rules, he can't be traded for at least six months after signing his new deal.
If Beal hadn't signed the new contract, there would be a non-stop referendum on his future and especially after losses like Friday night's. It was one of those games where Beal had little to no help on the offensive end. The Lakers' top-shelf defense made him their focus and stifled him into 18 points on 5-of-13 shooting.
Beal's 18 points were a team-high as many of his teammates like Thomas Bryant (five points), Isaiah Thomas (10 points), Davis Bertans (six points) and Moe Wagner (seven points) lagged behind. The Lakers absolutely pummeled the Wizards, at one point leading by 39 points. It was over so early that James and Davis didn't even play in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers are now 17-2, the best record in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Wizards are 6-11, on pace for 29 wins.
If it weren't for Beal's commitment, it would be fair to question where is mind is at. He knows it is going to take time for the Wizards to see through what they are currently building.
By signing up for it, Beal has proven he is different than the average NBA star. Davis forced his way out of New Orleans in an ugly, years-long saga to join the Lakers. As of now, it doesn't appear the Wizards will have to go through that with Beal.
So far Beal has proven to be more loyal and patient than many of his peers. Most do not care to finish what they started with a team like he has.
The Wizards and their fans should appreciate that approach, but also know he like everyone has limits. Beal ultimately wants to win just like Davis and other NBA stars. He's willing to wait, as long as the Wizards hold up their end of the bargain.
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