The New York Daily News last week reported that the Brooklyn Nets have had “internal discussions” about pursuing the 26-year-old Wizards guard, who signed a two-year, $72 million extension in October.
“It’s not the first time I’ve heard this kind of talk,” Beal told ESPN. “It’s interesting. To me, I look at it as a sign of respect, that I’ve been doing good things and guys want to play with me.
“That’s an unbelievable feeling. When you hear that Kyrie [Irving] and KD [Kevin Durant] want you, s—, that’s amazing. At the same time, you don’t know how much there is to it, or how easy it would be to do. And I’ve put down roots in D.C. I’ve dedicated myself to this town, this community. I love it here, and it would feel great to know I could grind out winning here instead of jumping to another team.
“But I’d be naive to say that I don’t think about it when these stories come up.”
Beal knows the formula. He watched Anthony Davis express his loyalty to the New Orleans Pelicans — until Davis finally determined he needed a bigger market that would produce more wins. Some of the game’s brightest stars — Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, for example — forced the hand of their teams to land in a more desirable environment. But Beal says he’s not ready to do that.
“My biggest thing right now is that I want to play with John [Wall] again,” Beal said. “I want to see him get back to that level where I know he can be, especially since my game has grown so much [while he’s been out]. What can we accomplish together? I’m so happy he’s healthy, working his tail off.”
Wall hasn’t played in an NBA game since December 2018 because of surgeries for bone spurs and a torn Achilles tendon. Beal said Wall had returned to practicing with the team shortly before the coronavirus pandemic hit, engaging in drills and even some light scrimmaging.
“He looked great,” Beal said. “I was super encouraged. We went from seeing John motoring around every day on a wheeler to watching him dunk the ball. I saw that just before we stopped playing, and I was thinking, ‘Wow! He’s back. We’ve missed that.’ The few practices he participated in with us changed the whole outlook of our team.”