Beal thinks Wizards can win title after max deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal and the Wizards renewed their commitment to each other when he agreed to a five-year contract worth up to $251 million to stay in Washington.

The big question is whether this commitment will make the next five years more successful than the past 10.

“I want to win a championship and I want to do it here,” Beal said Friday at a press conference to discuss his maximum value contract. “I believe we can win in DC”

There hasn’t been much evidence that wizards can support this belief. Since Beal was drafted in 2012 to play alongside point guard John Wall, the Wizards have made five playoff appearances, never advancing beyond the second round — and the last time they went that far was that long. Five years ago was Wall’s last full season in Washington. .

Since then, the Wizards have had a revolving door at point guard alongside Beal, who averaged more than 30 points in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and failed to persuade a marquee free agent to take him on. join in a league focused on the stars. .

“We have the opportunity to show the NBA what is happening, the commitment that we will make to our players, to their careers,” said general manager Tommy Sheppard. “You’re talking about one of the most coveted free agents in the market re-signing with the Washington Wizards, committing to what he believes we can win here.”

This season, the Wizards will surround Beal with big man Kristaps Porzingis, acquired in a mid-season trade with Dallas; Kyle Kuzma, who became the team’s top scorer with Beal sidelined by injury in the second half of last season; a new point guard at Monte Morris, acquired in a trade with Denver; and a collection of young actors including Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, Corey Kispert and Daniel Gafford.

“We do everything we can to make this mix perfect. We are a free agent,” owner Ted Leonsis said. “We’re still looking at how we can improve, and Tommy was given the green light and I said no to nothing. I want to win.”

Beal rooted himself in the Washington area through philanthropic endeavors and showed a growing awareness of social issues. He began his press conference by lamenting the imprisonment of WNBA star Brittney Griner in Russia; the mass shooting during a July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois; and a wave of gun violence in his hometown of St. Louis.

His two young sons attended the press conference and Beal noted that because of his financial security, “they don’t think they will have to work for anything. I have to try to find that balance and understand it. You don’t see that all the time, especially in the black community.

Beal said he was comfortable with his decision and that winning a championship in Washington would be more satisfying than chasing a title with a “super team.”

“You have proven all the skeptics wrong. You did everything to make it work and you did. It would mean everything to me,” Beal said. “It would mean more than just going and playing with four All-Stars. And, having conversations with guys who’ve done that isn’t always great. It’s not always fun. It’s not always what you think it is.

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