NBA Rumor: Bradley Beal Free Agency

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Bradley Beal leaning toward signing new deal with Wizards

On June 18, Bradley Beal will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly redone courts, a project a year in the making carried out by Hoop For All with funding from Beal, the NBA’s player association and the city. The event comes smack in the middle of a watershed summer for the Wizards’ star guard. Beal said he is still leaning toward signing a multiyear deal with Washington worth roughly $250 million this July, and in the meantime, he’s focused on rehab after having his cast removed in late April following season-ending wrist surgery in February. “Surgery was good, recovery went well. Had no issues,” Beal said.

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He has been watching the NBA playoffs. He has been preparing for the arrival of his third child in the coming months. And he has been staying in touch with the Tommy Sheppard, the Wizards’ president and general manager, as Sheppard prepares for June’s NBA draft. But mostly, Beal has had a lot of down time to ponder life off court — including his charitable endeavors and his legacy in D.C. The timing of the court refurbishment felt perfect. “This injury also gave me a mental break, a time to evaluate life, and I haven’t changed my mind-set,” Beal said. “I enjoy being in D.C., I enjoy being on this team.”

Bradley Beal addresses free agency rumors

Green directly mentioned the recent report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania that the Miami Heat are expected to go after Beal if he considers leaving the Wizards. (In the same story, it was reported that the Philadelphia 76ers worked on a Beal deal involving Ben Simmons before Beal underwent season-ending wrist surgery, which jibes with other information that has come to light since the trade deadline.) “I’m kind of embracing everything,” Beal said, “so I’m not upset about the rumors, I’m not upset about, you know, teams wanting me. I feel like that’s a good thing, right? We put in the work and we’re wanted by a lot of people, not just where we’re at.”

Beal said that he knows “it’s a lot of noise” and “it can be distracting at times,” but told Green that “you know as well as I know it’s nothing better than grinding it out and kind of doing it on your own.” He said he loves and respects that Washington “hasn’t been shopping me,” and rather been “hanging up the phone” when teams call about him.  He continued: “It’s kind of funny. I’ve never been a free agent. It’s kind of reminding me of college recruiting. Like I hear every single game somebody’s recruiting me. Someone’s like tagging on me, whether it’s another player or whether it may be a coach or whoever it may be, somebody’s chit-chatting: ‘B, what you want to do this summer? What you doing this summer?'”

Beal has said this kind of thing before, and, while he emphasized that he has great communication wish Washington, he was also honest about the position that the franchise has been in for years. “We’ve always been a team that has kind of been right in the middle of the pack, right in limbo,” Beal said. “We’re either a player away or a few possessions away from being a top-four seed or a bottom-eight seed. So that’s kind of always been our downfall. And then you look at it, it’s like, when you’re drafting in that, you’re drafting from mid-, late lottery.”

Bradley Beal on signing extension: I'm not gonna make a commitment and it doesn't work

Bradley Beal is one of the most high-profile players projected to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Will Beal sign another lucrative extension with the Washington Wizards or take his talents elsewhere to chase a championship? Appearing on Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes podcast, Posted Up with Haynes, Beal mentioned that every option is currently on the table for the next step of his career.

“Ultimately you have to be selfish at some point, and for probably the first time in my career, Year 10, I am. My full commitment is to the team. I want it to work. I’ve contributed to being here. I’ve committed to being here twice. So now I want to see that commitment to me as well, you know, that we can create a winning team and a winning environment, and granted, I’m a part of that. So I’ve gotta make sure that I’m stepping up and doing my thing as well.”

Beal is seen as far more likely to become available than Leonard, but I still don’t see it as more than a 50-50 chance. Most executives polled by TrueHoop this week expect only about a 33 percent chance that Beal will be on the market this summer. Beal and the organization have said all the right things. But, the Wizards are bad. No one in DC expected the Cleveland Cavaliers to be ahead of them in the standings at this point. A COVID outbreak, inconsistent play from Russell Westbrook, and a devastating Thomas Bryant injury has derailed their season.

The Wizards, at this point, have been given no reason to believe he wants to go elsewhere. And they likely won’t trade him unless they are given that indication. The Wizards, at this point, have been given no reason to believe he wants to go elsewhere. And they likely won’t trade him unless they are given that indication. What we know for sure is the Heat loves Beal and hopes to land him either before 2021 free agency or during. We also know that for whatever reason, Jimmy Butler followed Beal recently on social media.

The Wizards went through the first step to retain Bradley Beal this offseason, making him a $14.2 million qualifying offer last night to keep him a restricted free agent so they can have the first right of refusal, league sources confirm to CSNmidatlantic.com. The expectation is that once the roster is retooled using their $30 million in cap room, the Wizards will then sign him to a max deal by exercising Beal’s Bird rights which is an exception that allows the team to exceed the cap to retain its own free agent.

Wizards expected to offer max deal to Bradley Beal

Barring a drastic development, Beal won’t have to shop around. The Wizards are expected to offer Beal a five-year deal for the maximum amount allowed under the salary cap as soon as the free agent negotiating period kicks off on July 1, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Based on the $92 million salary cap projection teams are working with, a max contract would pay Beal $23 million next season because he could earn up to 25 percent of the cap amount as a four-year veteran.

Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo, a backup the entire regular season who is making $2.8 million for 2015-16, will surely opt out of his contract this summer and land a deal worth at least $16 million per year because of his breakout postseason, according to a league source. According to Hoopshype.com, Biyombo, a defensive and rebounding stalwart with a limited offensive skill set, is the 23rd-best potential free agent on the market this summer. Beal is ninth on that list, which includes players with contract options, such as all-stars LeBron James and Andre Drummond, who are not expected to test the market.

Beal’s age also increases his value. He will turn 23 on June 22, and NBA players typically peak between the ages of 26 and 28. He is the youngest player on HoopsHype’s list of the top 50 free agents by nearly a year, younger even than a few players who will be selected in next month’s NBA draft. Virginia point guard Malcolm Brogdon, for example, is more than seven months older than Beal. Furthermore, the free agent pool at shooting isn’t deep beyond Beal, DeMar DeRozan and Dwyane Wade.

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).

Bradley Beal wants max money

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.

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.”

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.

Injured Bradley Beal still expected to attract a max deal

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.

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.

“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.”
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June 28, 2022 | 3:23 pm EDT Update