Just before the 2019-2020 NBA season began, Wizards guard Bradley Beal opted to extend his career in Washington with a two-year, $72 million maximum contract that keeps him in the nation’s capital through at least the end of 2022 -- with a player option for the following year.
Before the extension, other teams across the league were reportedly interested in acquiring the 26-year-old. But Beal never pushed for a trade, and opted to stay with the team that drafted him out of Florida in 2012.
In an appearance on Posted Up with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Beal explained his decision was deeper than money. Renewing his commitment to Washington, which he called his “second home,” was about the initial connection, his legacy and the chance for success with John Wall in the future.
“I respect the fact that they drafted me, that’s first and foremost,” Beal told Haynes. “Just being in one spot for your whole career, having your jersey in the rafter one day, being that important to an organization, those were all things that drew me.”
Last summer, Beal said he spoke with current and former NBA stars about his pending decision. He consulted Portland Trailblazers’ star guard Damian Lillard, who decided to stay with his original team with a supermax contract extension in June, and Ray Allen, who was loyal to the Milwaukee Bucks early in his career.
After those conversations, it was clear to him that staying in Washington was better than chasing rings through requesting a trade.
“Honestly, I thought that was kind of the easy way out,” Beal said. “It’ll feel more meaningful and powerful knowing that I grinded it out doing it in D.C. It’s pretty much my team, I’m the franchise here, so it was kind of destined for me to kind of mold it from here.”
Beal’s appearance on Haynes’ podcast comes one week after he expressed frustration following the Wizards’ 116-109 loss to the Chicago Bulls -- another defeat during a difficult season.
The guard addressed those comments that underscored his mounting frustration.
“I was mad that we lost. We lost a very winnable game. And granted, I’m a big part of it, the team’s a big part of it,” Beal said. “One thing I want everybody to understand is I’m not a guy that just shifts blame on his teammates.
“I want to win. And whatever that looks like, whatever it takes, let’s go out there and get it done.”
Washington’s losing season comes with Wall relegated to the role of a spectator, as the Wizards’ franchise point guard continues to recover from a ruptured achilles he suffered last February.
Without Wall on the floor this season, Beal has averaged 27.5 points and 6.3 assists in 36 games. But Beal knows his role will change whenever Wall returns.
“When he comes back, obviously, you know, the dynamic of our team chances. I won’t have the ball all the time,” Beal said. “He’s going to have the ball, he’s going to be able to make plays and, you know, create plays for us as he always does.”
As Beal looks forward to reuniting with his backcourt running mate, he also has an eye on how the duo can advance further than it did in the past.
“What can we do differently than we did in the past?” Beal pondered. “How can we grow from where we were a few years ago -- game seven against the Celtics -- to how can we take that next step?”
In discussing Beal’s legacy, Haynes asked the Wizards guard about maintaining loyalty versus winning a ring. Beal didn’t shy away from laying out his goals to win multiple rings, but he’s also cognizant that there’s no guarantee his legacy will include that.
“There’s plenty of guys who had great careers and didn’t get one. Granted, everybody wants one. I want one; I want multiple,” he said. “At the same time, you can’t live your life or I guess you can’t basically judge your career off of that because there’s no guarantee you’ll get one.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS: