One of the hottest NBA trade rumors over the past year has involved Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. The only problem is Beal hasn’t actually expressed any interest publicly in leaving the nation’s capital. His feelings on staying in Washington could change soon, though, with some of his Wizards teammates going on record to express concern about the flow of the offense. Since Beal is the Wizards’ star player, he’s the first guy who comes to mind upon hearing comments like this.
“At the end of the day, it’s like the old saying, ‘You’ve got to throw a squirrel a nut,’” center Montrezl Harrell told The Athletic. “We’re not saying throw it to us and let us clear out and iso and go and do our thing. No. But at the same time, let us feel it, not just off rebounding and then giving it to a guard. No, let us get a touch early to get a shot. Let’s give us something to let us feel like we’re involved in the game as well.”
Harrell doesn’t call Beal out by name, but if you’ve watched the Wizards at any point over the past couple of years, then you know who these comments are about. At 19.8 per game, Beal attempts the most shots on the team. That’s over eight more than the team’s second- and third-most frequent shooters, Kyle Kuzma and Spencer Dinwiddie, who average 11.3 and 11.2 attempts, respectively.
Dinwiddie also talked to The Athletic about the current situation in Washington, and went on to speak of an “equal opportunity system” the Wizards are running on offense where everyone — with the exclusion of Beal — takes almost the same number of shots per minute.
“We’ve got a lot of dynamic duos in the league,” Dinwiddie said. “The process has got to be right, though. So, if we’re equal-opportunity, and that’s our thing, then that’s our thing, and I’m fine, whatever it is. I told you from the jump: Whatever it may be, I’m here to do whatever I’m asked to do.”
Everyone is going to say the right thing publicly, and Dinwiddie is going to toe the team line and say he’s here to do whatever he’s asked. But after a while, night-after-night of not being more involved in the offense, it’ll get to any player. Harrell is an excellent example of this. Dinwiddie’s interview with The Athletic came after a 113-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets, in which he put up just eight shots in 24 minutes, scoring nine points. Now, Dinwiddie hasn’t played great as of late, but it’s tough to come out of a slump when you aren’t getting enough opportunities to do so in games. The Wizards have struggled overall lately, losing seven-of-their-last 10 games.
I’m sure the Wizards’ issues on offense will be handled in-house, and I doubt we’ll hear anything publicly out of Beal for a while on the topic. But I won’t be surprised when the Beal trade rumor machine starts up again as we get closer to the NBA trade deadline in February. One good way to alienate a star player in the NBA is to call them out in the media. You can take that any way you want, but those comments probably weren’t taken very well by Beal behind closed doors.