WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal was wearing his normal practice gear on Thursday, a Wizards t-shirt and basketball shorts, though the large cast on his left arm served a stark reminder his 2021-22 season is officially over. That reality brings an offseason that was already going to be important for him and the Wizards franchise into focus several months sooner.
As Beal addressed the media for the first time since his season-ending left wrist surgery, naturally questions about the decisions he has to make this summer came up. Beal can opt out of the final year of his contract and either re-sign with the Wizards or leave to join another team.
While he has months to make that decision, he dropped a hint about which way he is likely to go. When asked if it is fair to say he is leaning towards re-signing, Beal replied: "that's fair."
Beal, however, also indicated he will take his time. The Wizards can offer him a contract worth a projected five years and $245 million. While that includes an extra year and substantially more money than other teams can offer, he said the next several months will serve as an evaluation period for him.
"I can see the team, I can see our young guys develop, I can see coach continue to develop, too. I can see us grow as a team. I don’t have to rush to a decision, I don’t have to rush to anything," Beal said.
"Everything is just take it a day at a time, take it a day. [Team president Tommy Sheppard], [team chairman] Ted [Leonsis], we’re all good. We know what the summer is and that’s always been a straightforward communication for us."
Beal said the two most important factors involving whether he will stay, beyond the money, are winning and the organization's impact in the community. He said he wants to be around people and teammates who are committed to winning. As for the community, he specifically mentioned the area surrounding the team's practice facility, in Ward 8 in Southeast D.C., saying he wants to help the people who live there get jobs and be able to afford housing.
"It’s great to have a facility here, but let’s help them," Beal said.
Beal plans to pay close attention to how the players remaining on the Wizards roster buy into the big picture plans of the organization and how they follow the lead of head coach Wes Unseld Jr. He said whether they make the postseason will not change how he views his future with the organization, but he hopes they can qualify for the play-in tournament.
Beal is also looking forward to seeing trade deadline acquisition Kristaps Porzingis take the floor and specifically the size he will bring to their lineup. Porzingis has yet to debut for the team due to a knee injury.
While Beal indicated he will stay with the Wizards, things are unlikely to be settled until early July when free agency opens.
He now has a lot more time to think about it.
"It’s a big summer and I’m excited for it. Ted and Tommy are, too. We all are. It’s a big summer," Beal said.