The Wizards don’t have a long-term general manager.
They do have a plan for Bradley Beal.
Washington coach Scott Brooks, acting general manager Tommy Sheppard and owner Ted Leonsis have each conveyed it to the star guard.
Beal said that Leonsis, Sheppard and Coach Scott Brooks have each independently told him in recent weeks that he would not be moved.
“They’ve been very transparent and that’s been great,” Beal said. “They’re not keeping me in the dark about anything, even about the trade rumors. . . . It’s great having that peace of mind.”
Leonsis is the most important deliverer of that news. He’s the only one guaranteed to last into a new front-office regime.
These declarations are obviously non-binding, and Leonsis doesn’t have a great track record of sticking by his word. The owner might say John Wall aggravating his injury changed Washington’s outlook. But that’s the point. Situations change.
What happens if the Wizards are one of the NBA’s worst teams next season? That’s quite possible given their roster/cap outlook entering free agency. Would they keep Beal through a year of his prime even if playoff-bound teams are making lucrative trade offers?
And what if Beal reaches the final season of his contract? Would Washington keep him and just hope for the best in unrestricted free agency?
How long does this no-trade pledge last?
The Wizards reportedly plan to offer Beal the largest extension possible this summer. That’d be worth $111,786,897 over three years.
That’s also way less than he could get by playing out the final two years of his contract and hitting 2021 free agency. Especially if he makes an All-NBA team in 2020-21, which would make him super-max eligible. Or he could make an All-NBA team next season that would make him eligible for a super-max extension, which would be worth the same as a new super-max contract as a free agent.
Beal’s projected max contracts:
- Extension in 2019: $111,786,897 over three years ($35,134,668 per year)
- Super-max extension in 2020: $250 million over five years ($50 million per year)
- Re-sign regular-max in 2021: $214 million over five years ($43 million per year)
- Re-sign super-max in 2021: $250 million over five years ($50 million per year)
- Leave in 2021: $159 million over four years ($40 million per year)
So, Beal will likely reject an extension this summer and wait until he makes an All-NBA team or his contract expires, whichever comes first. That’d at least be the financially prudent path.
In the meantime, he can know the Wizards say they won’t trade him – however far that assurance goes.