Shaquille O'Neal is the kind of guy whose opinion you always want, so NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes sat down with the legend to chat about NBA free agency and what the Washington Wizards should do.
What to do with star guard Bradley Beal is a no-brainer for Shaq, who described Beal as the "cornerstone of this franchise." Beal averaged 25.6 points, which is a career-high for a season, along with 5.5 assists and five rebounds per game.
But the now-NBA analyst also said Beal and John Wall have been really close to breaking through for successful seasons, and they're just missing a couple pieces.
Shaq suggested the Wizards should help their backcourt out, assuming Beal — who currently has two years left on his $127 million contract — wants to stay in D.C. As he explained:
I definitely think [the Wizards] should keep him. He's a great shooter, but if he’s a great shooter looking to go somewhere, L.A. has $32 million [in cap space]. ... He's definitely the cornerstone of this franchise. He and John Wall have always, almost always, been there. They just need another one or two guys.
Amid many trade rumors, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported a couple weeks ago that Beal and the Wizards are looking at a possible three-year, $111 million contract extention. And The Washington Post also recently reported Beal saying he's "definitely" open to an extension, but he also wants to consider other factors and "evaluate who we hire as the GM and who we pick up on the team."
But, as Shaq menioned, if a team is willing to open its checkbook for a shooter like Beal, another offer might be hard to resist, especially if it means going to the Los Angeles Lakers as another key player with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Beal has been called "a perfect fit next to LeBron,"but after trade rumors fizzled during the season, it's unclear if the Wizards would consider a trade.
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