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After another sub-.500 season, the Washington Wizards are rapidly approaching a crossroads in which they will have to determine whether they are going to tie their future to Bradley Beal. The star guard got off to a slow start and never really got himself going, appearing in just 40 games before shutting it down to have wrist surgery in order to be fully healthy for the 2022-23 campaign.
This summer, Beal had to make a decision on a player option worth just north of $36 million to stay in Washington, work out a new extension/deal with the Wizards, or hit the open market where he would be the most coveted free agent available and have plenty of teams pursuing him via a sign-and-trade. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the first domino in Beal’s next step has fallen, as the All-Star will reportedly decline his player option and hit unrestricted free agency.
Source: Wizards star Bradley Beal will decline his $36.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, @hoopshype has learned. More on Beal’s future, Bobby Portis, Nicolas Batum, and others in the story. https://t.co/sT8KU2qBUr
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 22, 2022
It is worth mentioning that this does not mean Beal is going to leave Washington — in fact, becoming an unrestricted free agent means that he is now able to sign a 5-year, $248 million supermax extension with the Wizards. While we don’t know if this is Beal’s plan or if he wants to take visits and see what other franchises can offer, he immediately becomes one of the best players in the 2022 free agent market.