However, Beal chose to wait to make his decision as the Wizards started the 2021-22 season with a host of new players.
The Wizards (14-11) have surprised many and sit in fifth in the Eastern Conference behind perennial contenders a little more than a quarter of the way into the season.
In the latest episode of the “Posted Up with Chris Haynes” podcast, Beal said he’s committed to the team, but wants to dictate how his future goes.
“I got time, so I kinda hold the cards right now. And one, I’ve never been in this position. I’m kinda embracing that, being able to kinda dictate how I want my future to be and where I want it to be,” Beal said on “Posted Up.” “And at the same time, I’m not gonna make that grand commitment and it doesn’t work. Ultimately, you have to be selfish at some point and for probably the first time in my career, Year 10, I am. And so I’m kinda taking advantage of it in a way.
“Obviously, my full commitment is to the team. I want it to work. I’ve contributed to being here. I’ve committed to being here twice. Now, I want to see that commitment to me, as well, that we can create a winning team here, a winning environment here. And granted, I’m a part of that, so I gotta make sure that I’m stepping up and doing my thing, too, just as well.”
In 2019, Beal signed a two-year extension with an option to opt out and enter free agency after the 2022-23 season. The new offer is a four-year, $181.5 million extension. He could also wait until the offseason and sign a veteran max contract for five years and around $235 million.
Why Bradley Beal knew Wizards could ‘make this work’ with new players
Not many expected Beal and the new-look Wizards to be in the playoff race early in the season.
Washington traded Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster deal in August, acquiring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma from the Lakers, Aaron Holiday from the Indiana Pacers and Spencer Dinwiddie from the Brooklyn Nets. The Wizards also have a first-year coach in Wes Unseld Jr.
For all that change, Washington is ninth in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 46.2%. The new pieces have come together, despite a recent three-game slide. BetMGM currently has the Wizards with +15000 odds to win the NBA championship.
“I was happy for Russ because he wanted to, like, I am always happy for a player that they do what they want to do and what’s best for their family,” Beal said on “Posted Up.” “... But my initial thing was, 'OK, if I’m going to be here, what are we getting back?' That was my first thought. It wasn’t like, OK, I’m outta here, too. Which it could’ve been, it could’ve very well been. … What are his options that he wants to go to, or what teams are looking to offer us the best package?”
Beal said his relationship with Caldwell-Pope from their high school days and his familiarity with Harrell and Kuzma gave him confidence in the deal. He also lauded Dinwiddie’s skills and the ability to allow second-year players Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija time to develop because of the pieces around them.
“You have a guy in Year 13 in Russ who wants to win now. He wants to win now. He wants things done now,” Beal said on “Posted Up.” “He was just in Houston and they went to the conference finals so he’s at that point, which is what we’re trying to get to, but we were some steps away. Which is why I ultimately see and respected Russ for his decision. But when it came back, it’s like, OK I see the pieces we have, we can make this work. You turn one guy into five guys. Five useful guys.”
Listen to the full episode of “Posted Up with Chris Haynes,” featuring guest Bradley Beal, and subscribe for the latest episodes throughout the season.