Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 16: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball during the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 16, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

  • The NBA free agent pool just got a little bit deeper. According to Michael Scotto of USA Today, star Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will decline the $36.4 million player option in his contract for the 2022-2023 season. With that move, Beal is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

    UPDATE: This report seemed to be news to Beal himself, who tweeted “Wait huh? Lol” shortly after the original story was posted.

    Beal is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, but that’s not a guarantee. The 28-year-old can still sign a new deal with the Wizards. By opting out and doing a new deal, Beal can add an additional $6.3 million of salary next season.

    This move comes amid rumors Beal may look to leave Washington, where he’s played since being drafted third overall in 2012. However, Bleacher Report’s Bryan Toporek indicated on Twitter that Beal could sign his new deal with the Wizards, “and then ask out later if needed.”

    If it does come to that, the Celtics have been rumored to be one of the favorites to land the three-time All-Star. A report from Jason Dumas of Bleacher Report last year indicated the Celtics would be Beal’s “preferred destination” so he could play with fellow St. Louis native Jayson Tatum. Both Beal and Tatum have spoken about their relationship in the past, with Beal giving an emotional answer on the subject just a few weeks ago.


  • There’s reason to believe that interest would be mutual as well. On Tuesday, Brad Stevens outlined what he believes to be the Celtics’ biggest needs this offseason including another consisted scorer and playmaker. Beal is a fit for both of those roles, and at an elite level. Over the course of his career, he’s averaged 22.1 points and 4.2 assists in 34.8 minutes per game. He set a career-high in assists last year, averaging 6.6 in 36 minutes per game.

    So what does this latest move mean for the Celtics’ potential pursuit of Beal? Without major roster manipulation, the Celtics would not have been able to sign Beal outright as a free agent. If he does re-up with Washington, it opens the door for a sign-and-trade while still allowing him to maximize his contract value. If such a deal does happen, the Celtics still need to match salaries but do have the pieces in place to do so including Al Horford and his $27 million dollar deal.

    The next big step is to see if and when Beal signs his new deal with the Wizards. NBA league-wide Free Agency begins June 30.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.