Bradley Beal is a guy poised to take a leap forward this season — if he can stay healthy. He wants to prove he can do for season what he did in the playoffs last season when he lead the Wizards in scoring at 23.4 points a game. He’s an elite sharpshooter and two guard, and he and John Wall proving they are the best backcourt in the East is key to Washington making it to the conference finals or beyond.
Does that make Beal a max player?
He wants a max extension; the Wizards haven’t been ready to give that up. The two sides have until Oct. 31 to get a deal done, but there has been no progress of late reports J. Michael at CSNmidatlantic.com.
While talks remain open, CSNmidatlantic.com was told, there hasn’t been any movement. Beal, who believes he’s worth a max deal, just returned from Taiwan and president Ernie Grunfeld had been on vacation.
The lack of reaching a compromise isn’t an indication of any greater problems, but the Wizards aren’t in a position in which they must commit to a four-year deal fully guaranteed right now with so many moving parts ahead in free agency in the summer of 2016.
There are two key reasons for the Wizards not to give Beal a max deal right now.
First is Kevin Durant. The Wizards want him to return to his hometown, and believe they have a legitimate shot to land him when he becomes a free agent next summer.But that is going to take boatloads of cash. If Beal and the Wizards do not reach a deal, Beal’s cap hold next summer will be $14.2 million; if he signs a max extension he would cost $20.9 million against the cap. That’s $6.7 million would come in handy landing Durant (or another free agent).
Second is Beal needs to prove he’s worthy of a max. When he’s on he certainly is — he shot 40.9 percent from three last season. But also last season he was inconsistent, and he has missed time for three straight seasons due to a stress reaction in his leg. Do the Warriors want to bet big on that now?
If no extension is reached, Beal becomes a restricted free agent next summer, and if Beal has earned a max the two sides can reach a deal — or even if another team offers him one the Wizards can match. The Wizards can afford to wait. Beal may have no choice.
Last season, Toure’ Murry got a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards. Then he played on their team at Summer League. He’s seen as a guy with size (6’5″) and potential, but it has yet to really show itself and he’s been banged up when with the Wizards.
He’ll get another chance with a training camp, non-guaranteed deal with the Washington Wizards, reports J. Michael at CSNWashington.com.
When Murry did play, he scored six points and added one assist, one rebound and one steal in five games with the Wizards.
He’s joining a team that has all 15 spots filled for the 2015-16 season with guaranteed contracts, along with center Jaleel Roberts who also played for the Wizards in Las Vegas. There’s a strong likelihood that a roster spot will come available which makes the risk worth the reward.
I wouldn’t bet on him making the roster. The Wizards have John Wall, Ramon Sessions, and Garrett Temple with guaranteed deals at the point guard spot, then Bradley Beal and Gary Neal locked in at the two. Not a lot of minutes or space there unless they make a move.
The Wizards went big — with Marcin Gortat and Nene up front — and stayed that way most of the NBA season. Then come the playoffs, coach Randy Wittman finally broke out a small ball lineup with Paul Pierce at the four for long stretches, and it got the Wizards to the second round.
Pierce is now a Clipper, but the playoffs saw the emergence of Otto Porter as his ready replacement — he averaged 10 points a game, shot 37 percent from three and was making plays.
Is Porter ready to step into Pierce’s role as a stretch four? “Definitely,” he told Tom Byrne and Vinny Del Negro on SiriusXM NBA Radio.
“Definitely, because that’s who the NBA is transitioning, you know, to smaller lineups. So being able to stretch out as a four is going to be key, and that is something with our coaching we might end up doing. It’s definitely something I’ll be comfortable with.”
He better be, it will be one of the keys to Washington’s season. The Wizards are going to start games big still, but there will be more small ball with Porter and just signed Jared Dudley at the four. Wittman is not going to sit on this lineup all season.
Elsewhere in the interview, Washington entering the season with high expectations. They believe they are a team ready to challenge Cleveland atop the conference.
Porter also said John Wall and Bradley Beal are the best backcourt in NBA. What else was he going to say? It is certainly near the top, although that duo out in Golden State has some hardware that backs up their case nicely.