NBA exec says Bradley Beal isn’t worth building around: ‘He’s probably the 2nd or 3rd player on a really, really good team’

Brad Sullivan
4 Min Read
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

In the opinion of one NBA executive, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal may be a star with his current team, but should be a candidate to be dealt.

The Athletic spoke with six anonymous NBA executives about the Wizards, with one executive pointing to how the team has seemingly overrated the talents of Beal.

“Why has the team been kind of stuck, or mired, in mediocrity for the last decade?” the executive said. “Probably because (they’re) disillusioned to think that Bradley Beal is the player that (they) hope he is, but he’s clearly not. So are you willing to clear the decks? I think that’s an important question. Why haven’t you traded Bradley Beal? Because he’s a good player, but he’s probably the second or third player on a really, really good team, not the guy to build around.”

The executives were queried about the current opening for the Wizards’ head of basketball operations job. The main focus zeroed in on how much personnel control a candidate would have, with Beal obviously part of that discussion.

Beal has been a prolific scorer for the Wizards, who drafted him with the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Over the course of his 11 seasons with the team, he’s averaged 22.1 points per game, including two consecutive campaigns averaging over 30.0 points per contest.

Yet, despite Beal’s talents, the Wizards have continued to lose traction in the Eastern Conference. During the 2022-23 regular season, the Wizards again failed to reach the playoffs after compiling a 35-47 record for the second season in a row.

That continuing mediocrity resulted in the Wizards dismissing general manager Tommy Sheppard after the regular season concluded.

In the midst of discussions about the state of the Wizards franchise, the executives indicated that team owner Ted Leonsis strongly needs to consider a major overhaul of the roster.

Taking that approach would likely entail a lengthy rebuilding process, which would probably mean some major struggles over the next few seasons. In addition, major success from that rebuild is far from guaranteed.

One of the ways a rebuild might begin would be by trading Beal, who turns 30 at the end of June. For years, he’s been a topic of trade talk, though the Wizards have resisted pulling the trigger on what would be a major deal.

Beal signed a massive five-year contract extension last year worth an estimated $251 million. The University of Florida product holds a player option for the 2026-27 season that would pay him an eye-popping $57.1 million.

Having such a huge salary on the books and getting mediocre results for the team in return might result in Beal becoming a trade candidate.

Whether a new executive at the helm of the Wizards takes such an approach remains to be seen. However, it’s clear that Beal’s star doesn’t shine brightly with everyone across the NBA.

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Brad has written on a variety of both NBA and NFL topics and has worked previously as a sports information director at the collegiate level. A lifetime fan of sports, he's witnessed countless great moments in different sports and understands that stories can be compelling from both the perspective of winners and losers. As a frustrated fan of Cleveland sports, he experienced something unprecedented when the Cavaliers won the city's first championship in 52 years.