Putting to rest any trade speculation, the Washington Wizards have extended Bradley Beal’s contract for two years.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN spoke to Mark Bartelstein, Beal’s agent, who confirmed the agreement. The contract includes a player option for 2022-23 and has a total value of four years and $130 million. If Beal declines the option, he would be eligible to sign a five-year contract worth $266 million, which would be the biggest deal in NBA history, per Wojnarowski.
“Brad has always made it clear to me, that in a perfect world, he would never leave Washington,” Bartelstein told Wojnarowski. “He has felt an obligation to be the focal point in turning the Wizards into an elite team. He’s thrilled about all the resources that Ted [Leonsis, the owner] is pouring into the franchise and thrilled how committed [Leonsis] and Tommy [Sheppard, the general manager] are to building something special.”
Wojnarowski first floated the possibility of a new deal when he reported on June 18 the Wizards intended to offer Beal a three-year extension worth $111 million.
When that date came and went without any word of a deal, Sheppard said the team was giving Beal space to make a decision before Monday’s deadline for a contract extension.
After making the playoffs in four of the previous five seasons, the Wizards fell into complete disarray in 2018-19. A 5-11 start prompted Wojnarowski’s report that everyone on the roster was being made available in trade talks.
It seemed like Beal would survive a potential trade exodus when The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania reported on Jan. 23 he was “not going anywhere” before the deadline. That wound up being the case during the season, but things apparently changed this summer.
The Wizards haven’t helped themselves by giving big-money extensions to declining players. John Wall, who could miss all of 2019-20 after tearing his Achilles in February, signed a four-year max extension worth $170 million in July 2017 that doesn’t even take effect until next season.
Otto Porter Jr. was dealt to the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 6 for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis.
Beal was probably Washington’s most valuable trade asset. He averaged a team-high 25.6 points per game in 2018-19 and is a career 38.4 percent shooter from three-point range.
Per ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton, his natural shooting ability made him an intriguing fit for any team looking for an upgrade on offense:
“Beal is a plus catch-and-shoot jump shooter (his 61.7 percent effective field-goal percentage on such attempts ranked 27th among players with at least 100 attempts last season, per Second Spectrum tracking) and a capable pick-and-roll ball-handler, allowing him to play either on or off the ball, depending on the talent around him.”
By re-signing Beal, the Wizards gain some assurance they will have at least one foundation player to build around for the foreseeable future. The rest of the roster around the 26-year-old still needs a lot of work, but keeping an All-Star in the prime of his career gives them options moving forward.