Washington Wizards All-Star guard Bradley Beal has agreed to extend his deal for two years on a $72 million maximum contract, agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports told ESPN on Thursday morning.
Beal’s extension, which begins with the 2021-22 season, includes a player option for 2022-23
Beal’s contract terms (extension terms bolded):
- 2019-20: $27,093,018
- 2020-21: $28,751,774
- 2021-22: $34,502,129
- 2022-23: $37,262,299 (player option)
What Beal loses with this extension:
- A chance to hit 2021 free agency, when his projected max starting salary would’ve been $38 million
- A chance to trigger super-max eligibility by making an All-NBA team this season or next, which would’ve increased his max salary in 2021-22 to $44 million
- The ability to get traded this season
What Beal gains with this extension:
- A guaranteed $71,764,428
That security obviously mattered greatly to Beal. I’m genuinely shocked he’s signing this extension. He’s an excellent 26-year-old wing who has stayed healthy the last few years. Bigger offers likely awaited if he played out his current contract. But an extension now was the only way to lock in major money.
Beal certainly plans to opt out in 2022. His $37,262,299 player option is just a hedge against something going wrong. If he opts out, his max in 2022 projects to be about about $47 million.
Projecting max salaries that far out is difficult. Consider that a rough estimate.
What’s clear: In 2022, Beal will have 10 years of experience and therefore qualify for the highest max tier (35% of the salary cap). The super max is also for 35% of the salary cap (for players with eight or nine years of experience, who can typically receive just 30% of the salary cap).
So, Beal is positioning himself to sign for a 35%-max contract on his next deal – just as he would’ve been without this extension.
The big differences: He’ll have no chance of getting the 35% max a year earlier through the super max, and he’ll be aiming to sign it at age 29 rather than age 27 or 28. The older he is, the less likely someone gives Beal a huge long-term deal.
For the Wizards, this is a coup. They secure their best player at less than his likely market value. It’s for only one more year, but they need all the time they can get to build a winner around him.
Washington remains in rough shape, yet another reason Beal signing this extension is so surprising. But he has touted his loyalty to the Wizards. He’s putting his money where his mouth is.
Of course, this doesn’t get Washington out of the woods. Beal alone can’t lift the team from the cellar. The clock is now ticking toward 2022 free agency.
But this gives the Wizards more runway. They have three years to build an appealing supporting cast. Heck, if it comes to it, they could even trade Beal as soon as this offseason. He’ll hold much more value with two years, rather than one year, remaining on his contract.
Washington ought to be thrilled with this extension. If Beal is also happy with it, good for him.