Heading into the 2019-20 NBA season, the Washington Wizards find themselves in one of the most unique positions in the league. The team certainly isn’t going anywhere fast, even with Bradley Beal on the roster in a weak Eastern Conference. Additionally, star point guard John Wall will miss all of next season with a torn Achilles tendon, making the outlook even bleaker in the nation’s capital.
Considering that Washington won’t be in a contending situation for at least the next two seasons, some have called for a rebuild and a trade of guard Bradley Beal to help jumpstart that process. However, interim President Tommy Sheppard told The Athletic’s Ben Standig that the franchise hasn’t given any thought towards trading their All-Star shooting guard.
“Not at all. It’s never crossed our mind. Bradley is somebody we’re building around. He’s a tremendous player, a tremendous person. One day he might make the Hall of Fame and still be a better person. He’s a tremendous guy.”
“He’s been involved with everything we’re doing in the draft, free agency. We need his opinion. We want this team to be a reflection of what he is all about. We kind of came up with a slogan, ‘Let’s go to work’ and that’s all about him, the example he sets. Anybody who comes into our airspace going forward is going to have that reflection of what Bradley Beal is like and knowing that you have a five-time All-Star sitting and getting healthy.”
Considering Sheppard’s adamant stance towards the team retaining Bradley Beal throughout the offseason, it surely appears that the Wizards will build around Beal instead of shipping him away for younger assets or draft picks. Without a GM appointed, Sheppard has been making most of Washington’s personnel decisions this offseason.
Even though Beal and Washington have now both said there is no interest in parting ways, this hasn’t stopped teams across the league from showing interest in the 26-year-old’s services. Teams such as the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors have reportedly been in pursuit of Beal, but Sheppard’s latest comments only further the belief that Beal is going nowhere.
If Washington truly does plan to keep Beal as it appears, they still won’t be very relevant next season. They simply don’t have the requisite supporting cast around Bradley Beal to even make the postseason, though the likes of Isaiah Thomas and rookie Rui Hachimura were solid offseason additions.
Ultimately, Washington choosing to hold on to Beal instead of expediting an inevitable rebuild could come back to haunt them, but this seems to be a route they’re more than willing to take.