Despite his team's struggles this season, Washington Wizards star guard Bradley Beal isn't interested in forcing his way out of town. His name has frequently popped up in trade rumors in recent weeks as the Wizards have sunk to the bottom of the standings in the Eastern Conference. Still, Beal, at this point at least, isn't interested in an easy out. The two-time All-Star wants to remain in Washington and has given no indication to the Wizards franchise that he wants to be moved, according to Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic. Similarly, several teams with potential interest in acquiring Beal don't expect him to become available in trade talks this season.
Beal, who is leading the league in scoring with an average of 34.9 points per game this season, is under contract through the 2021-22 season. He has a player option for the 2022-23 season that he could turn down in favor of free agency in 2022.
From The Athletic:
Beal has so far expressed he wants to remain in Washington and has not indicated he prefers to be traded, sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic. The Wizards, in turn, have no interest in trading him. Amid calls from the general public and even ones from around the league that a team at the bottom of the standings would be best off dealing its prized player, Washington has made it clear it has no plans to move him... There is a long way to go until the March 25 trade deadline, but several teams that would be in the hunt for Beal do not expect him to become available this season.
Now just because Beal doesn't want a trade out of Washington doesn't mean that he isn't bothered by his team's slow start to the current campaign after they failed to qualify for postseason play in each of the last two seasons. When asked by a media member last week if he was frustrated with his team's performance, Beal had a simple response:
"Is the sky blue?
"It's tough. I'm not gonna sit here and be naive. It's tough," Beal added. "We wanna win. I wanna win. This is why I stayed. I wanna win [here]. I figure this is the place I can get it done. So, it's tough."
While he's frustrated with the losing, Beal is also frustrated with the way he's being portrayed in the media. Unlike stars like Anthony Davis and James Harden who have forced their way to new teams, Beal has said and done all the right things in Washington, but he still finds himself at the center of speculation. Again, from The Athletic:
[Beal] is privately frustrated and confused with the perpetual portrayal of his situation, according to sources familiar with his thinking. After seeing other players take criticism for requesting to leave teams, those sources say Beal feels he's getting nitpicked for choosing to stay in D.C., where he began his NBA career in 2012. He felt similarly when he signed an extension in October 2019. Speculation about his future has swirled since before then.
It would be tough to blame Beal if he ultimately does request a trade out of Washington, since players only get one prime, and it would be sad to see someone as talented as Beal spend all of his best years on a middling team. However, in an age where players seem to request a trade as soon as they face a bit of adversity, it's refreshing to see a guy want to stay put and fight through the tough times. Now, the pressure is on Washington's front office to build a better team around Beal moving forward -- something it has been unable to do recently -- so that he doesn't feel the need to request a trade.