The Wizards went 7-2 without Bradley Beal and just 2-2 since his return from injury.
But make no mistake, they’re much better with him.
And they know it.
As league executives believe in Beal’s ability to command a maximum salary extension, the Wizards have made clear around the NBA that they’ll do whatever necessary to secure Beal’s long-term deal, sources told RealGM.
Beal, 21, is already one of the NBA’s top shooting guards. As important as his ability is, his age puts his value on a whole other level. There just isn’t anyone at Beal’s position who nears his combination of production and potential.
Think about what James Harden was doing four years ago and Klay Thompson three years ago, when they were Beal’s age. Beal is on a special track, and his value is magnified by the relative dearth of quality shooting guards league-wide.
However, Beal will be eligible next summer for a contract extension that begins in 2016-17 – the first season of the new national TV contracts. Based on salary-cap projections, a max extension for Beal would pay more than $118 million over five years.
Beal seems like a max player based on the current cap climate, but the calculus on contracts is changing. Washington will have more revenue to pay Beal, but that’s still a sizable commitment.
If the Wizards are truly willing to give him a max extension next summer – when they’ll know the 2015-16 cap will skyrocket, but won’t know exactly how high – they’ll be showing quite a bit of faith in Beal. Understandably.