11:57am: Beal’s camp and the Wizards mutually called a halt to extension talk this morning, Bartelstein tells J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com. “We decided it was best to wait when it makes better sense for both sides,” Bartelstein said. Beal can sign a five-year deal as a free agent, but because Wall is Washington’s Designated Player, an extension for Beal could have been for no more than four years.
10:16pm: The Wizards will not sign Bradley Beal to an extension before tonight’s 11pm Central deadline, sources tell TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). The prospect had seemed unlikely anyway, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote late Sunday, with the Wizards preferring to put off a deal until the former No. 3 overall pick enters restricted free agency next summer, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News reported Friday.
Washington fully intends to re-sign Beal for the maximum next summer, according to Deveney. The Mark Bartelstein client will be able to negotiate with other teams, but the Wizards can match offers. Beal could take the drastic step of signing his qualifying offer, worth about $7.471MM, but that would be a drastic discount from his projected maximum salary of $20.4MM. The sharpshooting 22-year-old said recently that he was confident about working out a deal with the Wizards before the extension deadline but would be OK with either outcome.
The Wizards are pursuing the same course that the Spurs took with Kawhi Leonard that allowed them to sign LaMarcus Aldridge this summer. The Pistons and Andre Drummond are also going that route. Those teams decided against extensions for their up-and-coming stars to preserve cap flexibility. Beal’s cap hold for next summer is $14.2MM, and that number is on the books until the sides agree to terms. Locking in the maximum salary, a difference of more than $6MM from Beal’s cap hold, would render Washington with little or no maneuverability to supplement a 2016/17 roster that would feature Beal, John Wall and a maximum salary free agent addition such as Kevin Durant, as I explained. As long as Beal is unsigned, the Wizards could sign other free agents next summer and simply use Bird rights to re-sign him or match an offer sheet.
Beal has started the season strongly. He’s averaging 25.3 points in 35.0 minutes per game and has canned 10 of 20 three-point attempts in three regular season games so far, though the same size is small, of course. He’s nonetheless ahead of Wall and leading the team in scoring and shot attempts.