Teams with an eye on Beal, a restricted free agent this summer, have expressed caution. “He’s one of the best pure shooters in the league,” a general manager told The Vertical, “but I’m scared of him.”
The setback comes six weeks after he and the Wizards agreed to table contract discussions until next summer, when he becomes a restricted free agent. Washington offered Beal a contract extension before the Nov. 3 midnight deadline for first-round picks on the final years of their rookie deals, but Beal sought a maximum contract, which would have paid him a projected $20.9 million over four seasons. The Wizards, however, want as much salary cap space as possible and not signing Beal to the extension gives them nearly $7 million more to sign free agents because his cap hold will be $14 million instead of $20.9 million. As a result, they elected to wait to give Beal max money. Though Beal’s recurring injuries are a concern, he is expected to still attract a max contract given his skill set, age, and influx of television money that will infiltrate the free agent market.
“I’m still going to come back from this,” Beal said. “I’m not going to let this just keep me down or worry me too much. I’m still confident in who I am and the type of player I am. And the GM and the rest of the organization knows what I’m capable of doing, too. So hopefully they won’t use this against me come next summer.”
This is part of the reason why the Wizards have hesitated to commit to Beal long-term with a four-year max extension. If it's fully guaranteed and his injuries get worse, there'd be no out. At the very least, they needed an early-termination clause. Financially speaking, the Wizards were wise to wait because they'd have fewer dollars available under the salary cap in 2016 by signing Beal to an extension last month. Even if they eventually opt to max him, by waiting there would be more money allotted because they could exercise Bird rights to retain their own free agent after filling all of the other holes on the roster that could be as many as seven. Bookkeeping-wise, the Wizards had to wait because it was the smart thing to do regardless of Saturday's news.
"This is where I want to be. I'm not looking at any other teams. I'm not looking to go anywhere else. I believe in this team we have in this locker room. I'm a big cornerstone of this team, so I'm here. I want to be here. Hopefully, the front office knows that. I'm pretty sure that they know that," Bradley Beal told Yahoo Sports.
"It's a business at the end of the day. I can't let that affect the way I play, nor will I ever let it. It's money at the end of the day. And I just want to go out here and play my butt off, each and every night and get what I deserve. Earn every penny that I get. If that's the max, then it's the max. And if it's not, it's not. At least I can look at it and say I gave it my all," Bradley Beal told Yahoo Sports.
"That's the goal. Obviously, that's the goal," Beal told Yahoo. "I trust what they're doing. I understand what they're doing. I have no [anger] toward [team president] Ernie [Grunfeld] or anyone else in the organization. I know at the end of the day, this is where I'm going to be and hopefully that I continue to be here. I don't even worry about it. I'm worried about this season and controlling what I can control. I'm not in there arguing back and forth with Ernie like, 'I need this!' I'm just out here playing and doing what I do and letting my game speak for itself."
Thusly, Beal will become a restricted free agent in July. “Bradley is a huge part of what we’re trying to do here,” Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld said. “We see him as a key piece to our future and we’ll resume negotiations next summer.”
Jorge Castillo: The Wizards, btw, did make Beal an offer. But it wasn't for the max and that's what Beal wants. And if you don't think Beal will get the max next summer go take a look at the contracts signed over the summer. The money is out there.
David Aldridge: Wizards, per sources, won’t extend @Bradley Beal before deadline. Still hope to sign impact FA in July, then re-sign Beal, who’ll be RFA.
Probably the most interesting case when it comes to the Monday deadline is that of Wizards guard Bradley Beal. A person with knowledge of the situation told Sporting News that the Wizards fully intend to keep Beal and lock him up with a max contract — despite Beal’s troubles staying healthy — but they want to wait until next summer.
The reason is obvious: Washington will be among the teams trying to lure Kevin Durant from the Thunder. Durant grew up in the D.C. metro area and, should he be willing to leave Oklahoma City — still a very open question — the Wizards would be considered a favorite to sign him. They could do so if they order the contracts the way the Spurs did with Aldridge and Leonard, with Durant first signing, then with Beal’s contract coming after.
September 22, 2021 | 9:43 pm EDT Update
“I talked to Steph Curry a couple weeks ago, and I was asking him about young players he might have reached out to and guess who he said?” Jackie MacMullan remarked. “Darius Garland, Darius Garland, he loves Darius Garland a lot, a lot, a lot. He thinks that kid is gonna be a flat-out star.”