Nearly every reigning All-NBA player is locked into his contract through at least 2023.
The exceptions: Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal.
Irving and the Nets have unique issues. Brooklyn pulled Irving’s max-extension offer.
The Wizards, on the other hand, would love Beal to accept his standing largest-allowable-extension offer rather than become a highly coveted free agent next summer. But he’s not rushing to do so.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:
“Brad and I have a very respectful, very honest relationship. It’s very similar to my relationship with Alex Ovechkin. He will obviously always do what’s right for his family. We will do what’s right for the organization. I believe — and I think he believes — that there is synergy in what’s best for him and what’s best for us. It’s not something he’s obsessing over or we’re obsessing over,” Leonsis said.
“What he wants most is to be in one place and to be the pillar and we’ve been continuing to build around [him]. Just improve and improve, [hoping] the community gets reactivated and then we can compete for a championship. I think that he’s the kind of person whose family and his family is the kind of family we want to have a partnership with.”
Beal’s extension would likely be worth “just” $181,301,299 over four years. If he waits until 2022 free agency to sign a new contract with Washington, Beal projects to be able to get $242 million over five years.
However, waiting to sign Beal until the offseason would be incredibly risky for the Wizards. If they keep him past the trade deadline, they could lose him for nothing in free agency. Though Beal has gone out of his way to state his loyalty to Washington, he frequently gets recruited by players on other teams. Even if he plans to forgo the extension only so he can re-sign on a larger contract later, if the Wizards’ season ends on a sour note, Beal could always change course and leave in free agency.
That’s why it’s so important for the Wizards to have an honest dialogue with Beal as the trade deadline approaches. They did well in building the roster around him, but they must have a thorough understanding of Beal’s intentions. If he signs outright elsewhere, that could set the franchise back years.
Amid that pressure, Leonsis sound like he’s playing it cool.
We’ll see how that approach works.