Bradley Beal won’t be eligible for an extension to his rookie scale contract until July, but the Wizards are already planning to come to terms with him next offseason, and his latest injury hasn’t given the team pause, sources tell J. Michael of CSNWashington.com. Beal is likely out six to eight weeks with a broken wrist, but it remains a fait accompli that the team will pick up his approximately $5.695MM rookie scale team option for 2015/16 by the deadline at the end of the month, Michael writes.
Beal played in only 56 games as a rookie thanks to a leg injury and was on a minutes limit last year because of another injury to the same leg, as Michael notes, but his history of ailments apparently isn’t a concern to GM Ernie Grunfeld and his staff. A quick extension for Beal would follow the team’s path with backcourt mate John Wall, to whom the team committed a five-year maximum-salary deal in 2013 despite the fact that to that point he’d missed at least 13 games in two of his three seasons in the NBA. The extension made Wall the team’s Designated Player, meaning the Wizards can grant an extension of no more than four years to Beal as long as Wall remains on the roster.
It’s conceivable that Beal will be worth the maximum salary, as Michael opines, but it remains unknown whether the team wants to jump into a max deal with the Mark Bartelstein client just as it did with Wall. The maximum salary is tied to the salary cap, and it’s unclear just how high the salary cap will spike for the summer of 2016, when an extension for Beal would kick in. The league’s new $24 billion TV deal also takes effect that summer, but while some projections have the cap surging as high as $80MM, it’s not yet known if the league will phase in more gradual increases, and if so, how the league would structure those incremental rises. Waiting until Beal hits restricted free agency in the summer of 2016 would give both sides the ability to see where the max and the cap are situated before committing to a deal. The Wizards have only about $29MM on the books for 2016/17, but locking themselves into a max extension for Beal might make it difficult for the team to chase free agent target Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016.