On Tuesday, Feb. 8, the Washington Wizards announced that star guard Bradley Beal would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn scapholunate ligament of his left wrist.
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
The injury comes at the worst possible time for the Wizards, who continue to sputter after a hot start to the 2021-22 season.
Despite having a down shooting year by his standards, Beal turned in averages of 23.2 points, 6.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds over 40 games this season and the Wizards will need several players to step up to provide a scoring punch in order to keep the team in contention for a spot in the Play-In Tournament.
When you take a look at the bigger picture, Beal’s status as an impending free agent makes this latest development one that is felt well outside of the nation’s capital, as the entire league has its eye on the developments pertaining to Beal.
There are a number of layers to it.
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How Bradley Beal’s season-ending surgery impacts the trade deadline
Over the course of his 10 seasons with the Wizards, Beal has made five Playoff appearances, with the most success coming in 2017, when Washington came one win shy of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
With the Wizards’ progress stagnating ever since that postseason run, Beal has been linked to a number of franchises as a potential trade target.
Less than a week before news of Beal’s surgery surfaced, David Aldridge and Josh Robbins of The Athletic reported that the 28-year-old was “not rejecting” the idea of being moved elsewhere via trade.
NBA trade grades: Pacers-Kings | Pelicans-Trail Blazers
A three-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA performer, Beal became the subject of plenty of trade rumors as a result.
With his potential free agency looming, Beal being unavailable for the remainder of the season means that virtually no team will be willing to part ways with its current talent to take in a player that is in line for a lengthy rehab process.
How Bradley Beal’s season-ending surgery impacts free agency
Beal has a player option for the 2022-23 season worth $36.4 million.
In January of 2022, Beal elected not to sign a four-year contract extension worth roughly $181 million in order to maximize his earning potential.
Even prior to the injury, all signs indicated that Beal would opt out of the final year of his contract as he is in line for a five-year supermax contract worth approximately $241 million.
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Beal still could be targeted in a potential sign-and-trade this summer but the contract he is in line to receive makes it more difficult for potential suitors to match salaries.
As for signing outright elsewhere, the Pistons, Magic, Spurs and Trail Blazers are currently projected to have the most cap space in the 2022 offseason.
Bradley Beal contract
In 2019, Beal signed a contract extension that included a player option for the 2022-23 season.
He is currently making $33.7 million, making him the 18th highest-paid player in the league this season.
PO: Player Option
(All figures via Spotrac.)