The first day they could, the Washington Wizards put a three-year, $111 million contract extension offer on the table for Bradley Beal. It sent a message to him: We want you here, we want to build around you in the future.
Beal’s reaction? So far a shrug.
Chris Miller of NBC Sports Washington sat down with Beal and asked him about the extension.
“Honestly you might slap me, but I haven’t thought about it,” Beal said. “I’m just getting better and letting my agent, Tommy [Sheppard] and everybody else deal with it.
“I just go hoop. Every day I see somebody and they ask ‘Beal, you leaving?’ and I’m like ‘I’m still living in D.C., I ain’t going nowhere.'”…
“It’s a great thing that a lot of people love your game and want you on their team, but I love the situation I have too.”
Beal doesn’t want to be traded because he would like a supermax contract extension — five years, $250 million — but only the Wizards can give him that money, and only if he makes an All-NBA team (or is named MVP). Beal finished seventh in All-NBA guard voting last season, but there are just six guard spots on the team (Beal received the most votes of any player not to make the All-NBA team at any position). He rightfully feels he has a shot at it.
However, even if he doesn’t, he can make more money by playing out this contract, which still has two-years, $55.8 million left. He can sign a four-year extension next summer, or wait until 2021 when he is a free agent and sign a five-year, $214 million ($43 million per year) with the Wizards or leave and sign a four-year, $159 million ($40 million a season) contract with another team. The only reason to take the current deal is security, and Beal seems ready to bet on himself.
The Wizards do not want to trade him because they are trying more of a re-tooling on the fly than a complete rebuild, and they want Beal at the heart of what they do. Even with Tommy Sheppard as the new GM — hopefully thinking more long-term rather than just short-term with his moves — this is an owner in Ted Leonsis who wants to make the playoffs every year. Beal helps them win games (although probably not enough to make the playoffs this year, considering the roster around Beal).
If Beal seems to be in line for an All-NBA spot this season, the Wizards have a $250 million question to answer — do they want to pay him that much? Would that force them to open up the trade market for Beal (like Sacramento with DeMarcus Cousins, for example)? The Wizards already have John Wall on a supermax, having two contracts like that on the books will make it hard to put players around them and win a lot (that does not even get into the question of how Wall bounces back from these injuries and what kind of player he becomes). Trading Wall right now is next to impossible with his contracts and injuries.
For now, it looks like things will just play out without a move. The Wizards do not want to trade Beal, but he’s betting on himself for a bigger payday.
So he says he’s not thinking about it and leaving it to his agent, which whether you believe him or not plays out the exact same way.