It’s a dark time for the Washington Wizards, but their saving grace is that they still have Bradley Beal for two more seasons. The team reportedly wants even more.
The Wizards are planning to offer Beal a three-year, $111 million max extension when he becomes eligible to sign on Friday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. A one- or two-year extension would also reportedly be on the table if Beal prefers.
Beal will have until Oct. 21 to sign the extension, which would be added to the end of the two years and $56 million he has remaining on his current contract.
Beal’s agent reportedly told Wojnarowski his client will need time to consider the offer, though it won’t be so he can focus on playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup.
Why Beal might wait before signing
There are a couple reasons why Beal might want to wait before signing an extension with the Wizards. The first, and most obvious if you have even casually followed the NBA in the last couple of years, is that Beal might prefer to play out his contract and sign with a team closer to contending than the Wizards, which is almost the entire NBA at this point.
The other is that if Beal, who averaged careers highs in points (25.6), assists (5.5), rebounds (5.0) and steals (1.5) per game last year, continue to improve and makes his first career All-NBA team next year, he’ll be eligible to sign a five-year, $254 million supermax extension next summer.
So Beal has reasons to hold off from signing whether he wants to leave the Wizards or play the rest of his career in Washington.
Beal still the Wizards’ biggest trade chip
The other big factor at play is Beal’s trade market, which figures to be significant for one of the top shooting guards in the league on a manageable deal. Beal’s name has come up in plenty of trade speculation, which makes sense when you have a great player on a team that clearly needs a full rebuild.
New Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard reportedly said the Wizards have no plans to engage in trade talks on Beal’s current contract if he rejects the extension, but it’s hard to see the Wizards passing up on a trade that gives the team significant young talent and/or frees them from John Wall’s supermax contract.
Wall’s four-year, $171 million contract, which begins this year, currently ranks as the biggest albatross in the league after the star saw a down year last season, then ruptured his Achilles tendon at home in February. With that contract on the books, the Wizards’ hands are tied for the foreseeable future.
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