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Wizards owner Ted Leonsis reveals how Washington convinced Bradley Beal to stay

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The Washington Wizards and star shooting guard Bradley Beal indeed tied the knot on a two-year, $72 million extension prior to the start of the regular season, though it was hardly a simple decision.

With the Wizards strapped for cash after doling out a massive extension to John Wall in 2017 and Beal developing into one of the best shooting guards in the league just a couple years in advance of free agency, the situation was somewhat tenuous.

But Wizards owner Ted Leonsis expanded on his personal relationship with Beal and how the organization was able to convince him to sign an extension (via Matt Wyrich of NBC Sports Washington):

“Brad and John are way closer than the media portrays,” Leonsis said. “They are also deeply immersed in the culture of the NBA and history of the NBA. Having a great backcourt is priority one and why would you want to, if you’re a great player, be a sidekick, if you will. And is that leading to happiness? I mean that’s the amazing thing that you see. You’ve never seen as many unhappy people as you’re seeing in the NBA.”

Leonsis believes Beal has bought into the new identity Washington is trying to develop. He pointed to other stars around the league and pondered why they’d sign with teams that aren’t prioritizing them as their No. 1 players.

“If you get a young player and they’re a part of building your culture and the team, the culture really becomes theirs,” Leonsis said. “That’s the key thing and so if you’re gifted, and you’re gonna get paid in the NBA, why go play and be the third wheel? It’s counter-intuitive to me. Like, it’s LeBron’s team in LA. How’d it go last year? Did anyone look happy in LA? So Brad and John and the players here, they’re a part of something and it’s gonna be really, really hard. But [they’re] in it together.”

Beal’s name frequented the trade rumor mill, but this extension keeps him in D.C. through 2022, with a player option for the 2022-23 season.

Though he has not been efficient at the start of this season, Beal is averaging 27.4 points, 6.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds, and is sure to be the focal point of Washington’s success for the foreseeable future.