We at NBC Sports Washington are looking at the five biggest storylines for the Washington Wizards as they get set for 2019-20 training camp, which begins next week. Today, a look at Bradley Beal's future...
The Wizards addressed one of their biggest storylines entering the season twice in the week leading up to training camp. Both Bradley Beal and general manager Tommy Sheppard discussed the contract extension the team offered their star shooting guard back in July.
Two months have passed and essentially nothing has changed. Beal told NBC Sports Washington he hadn't thought much about the contract at all and Sheppard explained how the team is giving him space to make the decision before the deadline to do so arrives on Oct. 21.
Given all the factors at play, that isn't necessarily a bad sign for Wizards fans. But it certainly isn't a good sign, either. If Beal really wanted the contract, he probably would have taken it by now with two months to mull it over.
Unless Beal has a change of heart, the safe bet seems to be that he will let the deadline pass and enter the penultimate year on his current contract. That would set up an important decision for both sides next summer when he will be one year away from free agency.
If that ends up being the case, this season will be pivotal for Beal's future. He wants to win and play in the playoffs. Even if the Wizards fall short of those goals this season, they will need to show some progress towards getting there.
If they can show an upward trajectory, it will go a long way in assuring Beal the franchise is heading in the right direction. As of now, as they begin a new era in their front office, all they can do is sell him on their vision. This season will put those theories into practice.
Given Beal wants to see the organization show him something before signs another contract, this season will be crucial for their player development. If any number of their young players can emerge, it will give them more options going forward in trades and in building their roster around Beal.
Beal will be able to figure it out himself. He's a very good player and is perceptive. He will be able to tell throughout this season which of the team's young prospects have bright futures and which ones do not.
If Beal wants to win, it would help to have Rui Hachimura emerge as a top rookie, to have Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr. take another step in their development and for some number of their other young players to emerge unexpectedly. Maybe an Admiral Schofield or Moe Wagner can prove to be a diamond in the rough.
Beal will also likely be paying close attention to John Wall's situation. They get along well and would love to complete what they see is unfinished business as a duo. But just as Wall's injury and contract could hamper the Wizards' ability to compete in upcoming years, the same goes for Beal by association.
If Beal is going to win anything of signficance in Washington, it will probably require Wall to have a successful and full recovery. If he can't become close to the same player he once was again, it will be difficult for the Wizards to build a competitive roster with what is remaining of their salary cap.
The Wizards hit the reset button on their roster this offseason and would like to reinstall themselves as playoff contenders sooner than later. They don't want it to take long and Beal probably feels the same.
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