Well, wow. In the madness leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, the league was hit with some significant injury news. The Washington Wizards have announced that Bradley Beal will undergo season-ending wrist surgery.
Injury update: Bradley Beal will undergo surgery to repair a torn scapholunate ligament of his left wrist and will miss the remainder of the regular season.
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) February 8, 2022
Beal has missed five-straight games due to the injury, as the Wizards have lost eight of their last nine games.
Sitting 24-29 and 11th in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards have completely plummeted since a 10-3 start to the season. The acquisition of talent like Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and Spencer Dinwiddie has failed to provide the kind of boost around Beal that many expected. Not to mention, Beal has posted arguably his worst offensive season in the past three years, averaging 23.2 points on just 45.1 percent shooting from the field and 30.0 percent from downtown.
Beal’s name has circulated in trade rumors for years, and the Wizards’ sinking ship thrust him into the conversation again in recent weeks. However, now sidelined for the foreseeable future, I think it’s safe to say Beal isn’t going anywhere. Instead, the question now becomes how will this news impact his free agency?
The 28-year-old has the potential to be the most highly-coveted player on the open market this summer if he declines his $36.4 million player option. And the Wizards have an option to offer him the most money with a five-year, $245.6 million deal. As a player still at the start of his prime with an elite scoring background, this could very well be the direction they go, but they could also use this season and this injury as leverage to come in short of the max. It will be something to keep an eye on.
Beal has a $36.4M player option for 2022/23.
He would be eligible for a five-year $245.6M contract with Washington if the player option is declined. https://t.co/sWba4EGMIe
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 8, 2022
On a broader note, we now have to keep our eye on the trajectory of the Washington Wizards organization. Who’s to say they don’t enter full-on tank mode during this second half of the season? With the trade deadline just a couple of days away, they have the opportunity to make available some of their veteran players, which is already something in which they were rumored to be interested. More on that here.