The Wizards will be eligible on Friday to offer Bradley Beal a three-year contract extension worth more than $111MM, and newly-permanent general manager Tommy Sheppard tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski the team is ready to put that offer on the table.
“At the very first moment allowed, we are going to offer Bradley the full max extension,” Sheppard said.
Players like Beal – who are on contracts that span at least five years – are permitted to sign veteran contract extensions on the third anniversary of their signing date. Beal’s last contract was finalized on July 26, 2016, so his extension eligibility window opens on July 26 of this year. An extension would start in the 2021/22 season, once his current deal expires.
Still, there’s no guarantee that the All-Star guard will accept the Wizards’ offer once it’s officially on the table. Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein tells Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link) that there “hasn’t been a decision to make as of yet,” suggesting that he and Beal will begin thinking seriously about his contract situation once they have the extension offer in hand.
“There are moments in a career where there are big decisions to make, and Brad will work through everything and figure out the right thing to do,” Bartelstein told Wojnarowski. “There are nothing but great feelings for [Wizards owner] Ted [Leonsis], Tommy and [head coach] Scott [Brooks]. They’ve treated Brad wonderfully.”
There has been speculation that the Wizards might feel pressure to place Beal on the trade block if he turns down an extension offer, but Sheppard tells Wojnarowski that the team has no plans to go down that road. Sheppard, who said the Wizards would also be open to a shorter-term extension for Beal if he prefers it, added that he intends to sell the 26-year-old on the future of the reshaped organization now that he has been installed as the permanent GM.
Turning down an extension offer at this time wouldn’t necessarily mean that Beal isn’t interested in staying in D.C. long-term. He’d be eligible for a longer, more lucrative extension a year from now, particularly if he earns All-NBA honors next season — that would make him eligible for a five-year, super-max extension next offseason.
Even if Beal doesn’t make an All-NBA team and simply plays out his current contract, he’d be in a better position to maximize his long-term earnings as a free agent. Assuming the Wizards still have Beal on their roster by the 2021 offseason, they could offer him $217.5MM over five years at that time, based on the league’s latest cap projections.
While we’ll have to wait to find out what Beal is thinking, Wojnarowski’s story makes it clear the Wizards are serious about building around him. Sheppard indicated that the club wants to “surround him with guys he wants to play with,” while Woj reports that Leonsis traveled to Chicago to present the team’s new vision to Bartelstein.