Over the last few seasons, Bradley Beal has been one of the more underrated stars in the National Basketball Association.
He had something of a coming-out party in the 2017 Eastern Conference semifinals versus the Boston Celtics, and since then, he has taken off.
BRADLEY BEAL. 😤
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) October 29, 2021
Bradley Beal creates crazy separation 😳 pic.twitter.com/VIw6uITb9f
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) January 6, 2022
In the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, the 6-foot-4 guard averaged over 30 points a game.
However, his Washington Wizards have not prospered, and now Beal is one year away from being able to become a free agent.
Washington would be best served to trade him before then and get some value for him on the open market.
The Wizards Have Tried To Win With Beal
After losing a hard-fought seven-game series to Boston in 2017, it looked like the Wizards were on the rise.
They had paired Beal with another All-Star-caliber guard in John Wall, and together they comprised one of the better backcourts in pro basketball.
But in the 2017-18 season, Washington went from 49 wins to just 43 and fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Toronto Raptors.
Then the following year, the Wizards didn’t even reach the postseason, as Wall missed the second half of the season with an injured heel and ruptured Achilles.
The team dealt him to the Houston Rockets just prior to the 2020-21 campaign for Russell Westbrook, and some thought the Wizards were getting back on track.
Instead, they struggled mightily on the defensive end, and despite the exploits of the seemingly prolific Westbrook-Beal backcourt, the Wizards barely qualified for the playoffs where they got rolled by the Philadelphia 76ers.
With Westbrook gone now, the Wizards don’t have a lot of attractive assets they could use to bring in another bona fide star, and they also don’t have any cap space they could use for that purpose.
The team seems stuck between a rock and a hard place, and perhaps there is only one solution for it.
Beal Is Facing A Crossroads, And So Are The Wizards
The star guard will enter the final year on his contract this fall, and unless the Wizards drastically improve their roster before then, there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for him to re-up with them.
In that case, Washington has two choices: let him leave as a free agent in the summer of 2023, or trade him beforehand in order to get some value for him.
Although he has had a bit of an off-year, he is still one of the NBA’s premier guards, as he can score at all three levels efficiently, as well as get others involved as a secondary skill.
One Team Could be Perfect For Beal
A couple of years ago, before Beal signed his current contract extension, he was being linked to the Miami Heat.
Although they will finish with the top seed in the Eastern Conference, they may lack the offensive firepower needed to reach the NBA Finals.
Beal would solve that problem, and then some.
If so, Beal could soon find himself with an opportunity to play for an NBA championship ring.