12:35pm: The extension is official, according to a tweet from the Wizards.
7:42am: The Wizards have reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension for All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. According to Wojnarowski, the deal will be worth just shy of $72MM, the maximum amount the team could offer.
Beal’s current contract pays him approximately $27.1MM in 2019/20 and $28.75MM in 2020/21. His new extension will start at 120% of his ’20/21 salary, which works out to a $34.5MM figure for 2021/22. According to Wojnarowski, Beal’s 2022/23 salary ($37.26MM) will be a player option.
In total, the Wizards’ star will be in line to earn about $127.6MM over the next four years — or he could opt out and hit the free agent market after three seasons, when he’d have 10 years of NBA experience under his belt and would qualify for a maximum salary worth 35% of the cap.
“This will allow him to do another deal while he’s potentially in his prime,“ Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein said of the extension, per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link).
The Wizards first offered Beal a three-year, $111MM+ contract extension back in July, but the 26-year-old indicated he wanted to take his time and evaluate the team’s direction under its new management group before making any decisions. As Wojnarowski points out, Beal’s decision to re-up with Washington – even on a short-term extension – represents a “spectacular victory” for team owner Ted Leonsis and new general manager Tommy Sheppard.
“Brad has always made it clear to me, that in a perfect world, he would never leave Washington,” Bartelstein told ESPN. “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 is pouring into the franchise and thrilled how committed (Leonsis) and Tommy are to building something special.”
Wojnarowski reported last week that the Wizards were willing to do an extension for Beal “in any form” he wanted, and it appears the team stuck to that promise. Besides being a one-plus-one extension rather than a three-year deal, Beal’s new contract also features as 15% trade kicker and a 50% advance on his 2021/22 and 2022/23 salaries once the extension begins, as Bobby Marks of ESPN details.
Perhaps most importantly, signing this extension will make Beal ineligible to be traded for the 2019/20 season. Contract extensions that exceed the league’s extend-and-trade limits ensure that a player can’t be traded for six months, so by the time Beal becomes eligible to be dealt, the February trade deadline will have passed.
Teams around the NBA had viewed Beal as the most likely star player to become disgruntled and become a trade candidate in the coming months, given the Wizards’ lottery expectations for the ’19/20 campaign. However, Washington insisted throughout the offseason that the former Florida Gator was unavailable. Clubs hoping to make a run at Beal will have to wait until at least the summer of 2020 to try to change the Wizards’ minds.
Beal, who has played all 82 games and made the All-Star team for two consecutive seasons, had a career year for the Wizards in 2018/19, averaging 25.6 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 5.0 RPG with a shooting line of .475/.351/.808. He also played an NBA-high 36.9 minutes per contest.
While Beal may not lead the league in minutes again in 2019/20, he’ll be leaned on heavily once more with star point guard John Wall expected to miss most or all of the season as he recovers from a torn Achilles.
Speaking of Wall, he and Beal both now have guaranteed contracts for the next three years, with player options for 2022/23. In 2021/22 – the final guaranteed season for the star guards – they’ll be earning nearly $79MM combined.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.