On paper, Bradley Beal is loyal to the Washington Wizards and there is nothing to indicate that they have any intention of letting him walk this offseason.
Still, it has done nothing to stop opposing players from trying to recruit him to their team.
According to Beal himself, there have already been a large number of recruiting efforts.
The Wizards’ offseason hinges on what Beal ultimately does. With a player option next season, he can become a free agent, and although he indicated earlier this year he was leaning toward re-signing with Washington, there are certainly other teams that would gladly have him.
That was made clear when Beal was asked how many people have tried to recruit him to their teams. “A lot,” he said. “You know I can’t give you names.”
Beal was at a ribbon-cutting event Saturday for the Benjamin Banneker basketball court refurbishment project in Washington. Beal, who won the 2018-19 NBA Cares Community Assist Award, told the youngsters in attendance he wanted the courts to be something the community could enjoy.
“When I first started playing, when I was you guys’ size, this is where I started,” he said. “We were outside playing from sunup to sundown.” Later, when talking to reporters, Beal was asked what his presence at the event said about his commitment to being in Washington.
“I don’t intertwine the two,” he said. “It’s love that I’ve received from day one. The city has accepted me since a rookie, and here I am going into year 11, and it’s the same love, if not more. I’ve always just tried to pay that back in one way or another.”
Beal is coming off a rough season, but his stock remains high. As a young and explosive scorer, he's one of the best in the league at initiating an offense, and his game is good enough to shift the balance of power in the NBA for years.
The last time anyone heard, Beal's heart remains with D.C. But with the pressure mounting from all sides, nobody knows if Beal will be able to hold out and stay loyal to a franchise that has only known defeat since the departure of John Wall years ago.