In talking to multiple persons with knowledge of the situation as recent as Wednesday afternoon, the Wizards remain determined to keep their core intact which means Beal stays put with John Wall, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat, Kelly Oubre and Otto Porter.
The good news for the Wizards is that Beal has significant incentive to wait them out. If he's to sign a maximum contract with another team, he is only entitled to 4.5 percent raises on a four-year contract, taking the deal to a total of approximately four years, $91.7 million given current estimates (again, dependent on where the salary cap exactly falls, these figures are approximate). However, if he waits for the Wizards, the team can offer him 7.5 percent raises and a five-year contract worth approximately $123.5 million, including $95.6 million over the course of the first four seasons (note: as Beal's contract will expire in July, he is no longer subject to the designated player rule).
Beal reiterated he wants to stay in Washington in a telephone interview from Tokyo last week, but at the right price. That price is a maximum contract. “I want to be valued the right way. I feel like I’m a max player and that’s what I’m looking for. If Washington can’t meet that requirement then I may be thinking elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that they probably won’t [let me go]. At the end of the day, that’s where I want to be. I think a deal will probably get done but you just never know,” Beal, 22, said from Japan, where he visited as part of a promotional tour for the NBA and attended a playoff viewing party with fans.
Beal said he’ll begin his offseason workout regimen at the beginning of June and it will include more weight lifting than in previous summers. From there, his future isn’t as clear but he prefers a return to Washington. “I want to be” in Washington,” Beal said. “I do. It just comes down to July 1st. I want to think about it a little bit, but this has been home for me. It’s great to have our core back and a new coach. So things are changing. It’s just up to me and the front office to get it done.”
If Beal does return to the Wizards, he’ll have a new coach in Scott Brooks, who replaced Randy Wittman. Despite Beal’s contract status, the two met for lunch in Los Angeles recently. “It was a good move. In some ways he’s similar to Witt,” said Beal, who was not consulted during the coaching search. “He allows his players a lot of freedom on the offensive end but he’s a defensive-minded coach. I got to pick his mind a bit and he’s great. I got a great feel for him. He’s really a player’s coach. He loves to be hands-on. He loves to develop guys and get his guys better. On top of that, he’s a proven coach. He’s shown that he can win and he’s shown that he can get his players to the finals. That’s exciting. It’s great to be in a situation to have a coach with that experience. He’s been there before. We’ve been in the playoffs, too. So put those two together and hopefully we make something work.”
Washington has around $44.3 million committed to Wall, Gortat, Morris, Porter and Oubre next season, and has to keep just under $22 million available to start a potential max deal next year for Beal, a restricted free agent. (Both sides are hopeful to work out a new deal in July.) That works out to around $90 million for nine players. The salary cap is currently projected at around $92 million.
J. Michael Falgoust: Bradley Beal on pending free agency: "Its like college again" #WizardsTalk @CSNWizards
Amin Elhassan, a former front-office executive for the Phoenix Suns and currently a front-office insider for ESPN, spoke to D.C.'s ESPN 980 AM about Beal on Thursday. He was asked if Beal is/will be a max player when free agency opens July 1: "That question is going to be so irrelevant July 1 because there are 20-plus teams that are going to have max space, 20-plus million dollars. It doesn't matter if you say, 'Well, I don't think so.' You wait long enough. I was talking to a front office executive from a team about a week ago and I said, 'Oh I can't wait for July 16.' He said, 'What do you mean July 16?' I said, 'We know all the good deals will be done in the first couple weeks but July 16 that's when the lights come on in the club and you're looking for anything to go home with. These teams are going to be throwing money at whoever has a pulse. Even if you don't think Bradley Beal is a max deal player, give it a week. I guarantee you he'll be a max player somewhere."
Amin Elhassan: "I lived it. We had Amar'e Stoudemire in Phoenix. He had great years here, all-NBA years here, All-Star years next to Steve Nash. We offered a $100 million deal that was partially guaranteed. When I say partially I mean about 75 percent guaranteed. It was a good deal and a smart deal on our part because he had a medical history and what happened? The Knicks said, "We'll give you all 100 (million). One-hundred percent guaranteed. And Amar'e left. After the fact he said, 'I really really wanted to stay but I'm not going to pass up guaranteed money.' I think the same thing will happen if you play around with Bradley Beal. ... Someone out there does not care. Someone out there will pay him that money."
Then there's that Gainesville connection again. The Wizards will pursue Durant, and though the idea is to sign both Durant and guard Bradley Beal, very little has gone right in Washington this year and that could lead to an utter tear-down. Beal is a restricted free agent and spent a year in Florida, so Washington could match offers to keep him, but his injury history is frightening — perhaps even for the Wizards themselves. Still, his talent could make him worth a gamble for a team like Orlando.
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.
May 20, 2022 | 8:25 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive teams: First team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marcus Smart Second team: Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Matisse Thybulle, Robert Williams III
Bobby Marks: Robert Williams has a $223,215 bonus as part of his rookie extension. However, because Williams is still in the fourth year of his rookie scale contract, the bonus is not earned. The bonus is now deemed likely and his cap hit for 2022-23 is adjusted to $10,937,502.
Melissa Rohlin: Gary Payton II (fractured left elbow) has started to do various light individual on-court activities and will be re-evaluated in one week. Andre Iguodala (disc injury in his neck) continues to show progress and an update will come when he’s cleared to practice.
May 20, 2022 | 7:27 pm EDT Update
The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end. But as the final round of interviews is set, sources tell The Athletic that Ham appears to have made the strongest impression yet.
In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.