As rival teams start reaching out to the Washington Wizards to explore the possibility of trading for three-time All-Star guard Bradley Beal, team president Michael Winger and Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports, are staying in close contact to discuss options presented to the franchise, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
After completing the first season of a five-year, $251 million contract, Beal’s unique standing as the NBA’s only current player to have a no-trade clause negotiated into his deal gives him the ability to control not only possible destinations, but also how a potential package to acquire Beal impacts his ability to play for a contender elsewhere.
If Winger is inclined to fundamentally reshape the roster of a franchise that has missed the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, teams won’t only have to talk with Winger and Wizards general manager Will Dawkins on trade ideas — they’ll have to involve Bartelstein in a three-way conversation.
With the NBA draft looming on June 22 and free agency commencing July 1, conversations on Beal’s future with the Wizards are expected to become more frequent, sources said.
Beal, who has played his entire 11-year career with Washington, has enjoyed a close relationship with the community and owner Ted Leonsis. Nevertheless, Leonsis said he has given Winger full autonomy on whether he wants to pursue a rebuild with the Wizards or continue a trajectory around high-priced veteran talent.
The Wizards are awaiting player-option decisions by forwards Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, who can both become unrestricted free agents.
Beal averaged 23.2 points on a career-best 51% shooting in an injury-plagued 50 matches last season. For his career, he has averaged 22.1 points, including back-to-back seasons of 30.5 points and 31.3 points in 2019-20 and 2020-21.