Bradley Beal reportedly made clear before the season he wants a max contract.
But Beal, who already faced injury concerns, missed a career-high 27 games this year.
Does that lower his value? Not in his mind.
Beal, via Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post:
“I want to be valued the right way,” Beal, 22, said from Japan, where he visited as part of a promotional tour for the NBA. “I feel like I’m a max player and that’s what I’m looking for. If Washington can’t meet that requirement then I may be thinking elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that they probably won’t [let me go]. At the end of the day, that’s where I want to be. I think a deal will probably get done but you just never know.”
Beal is worth a max contract, and it’s not particularly close. With the salary cap skyrocketing and so many players locked into deals signed under a smaller cap, there’s more than enough money to go around. Beal should get multiple max offers, even with his injury risk. He’s an elite shooter, just 22 and has the athleticism to grow into a more well-rounded player.
He’ll be a restricted free agent. So, whether the Wizards sign him directly or match an offer sheet, he’ll likely return to Washington.
The biggest question is whether the Wizards can time it right. He’ll count $14,236,685 against the cap until signed or renounced, and his max salary projects to be $21,579,000. So, Washington could spend the difference (projected to be $7,342,315) then exceed the cap to re-sign Beal.
But that would require Beal cooperating. Preemptively making a max offer rather than forcing him to sign an offer sheet could be a good way to get him on board.