The Wizards made a contract extension offer to star guard Bradley Beal on Friday morning, NBC Sports Washington has learned.
The move was expected given the signals sent by the organization leading up to the negotiating window opening on Oct. 1. Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard said on the record this offseason the Wizards would be giving Beal an offer the moment they could. The Washington Post was first to report the Oct. 1 date.
There had been some confusion when Washington could make the offer given the shift in the NBA calendar from the previous two seasons due to the coronavirus. As of the beginning of the offseason, the league had not made the date official.
The offer to Beal is straightforward in the sense the Wizards want to re-sign him and are willing to give him the full four-year, $181.5 million he can earn if he decides to sign. But it’s also more open-ended in that Beal could decide to sign for fewer years to maintain flexibility for himself as he did in 2019 when he signed his last extension, a two-year deal that kicks in for the upcoming 2021-22 season with the second year a player option that Beal could decline next summer.
Beal can also wait. If he goes through this season and exercises that 2022-23 player option to become a free agent, he can then sign with the Wizards for five years and an estimated $235 million. Beal himself indicated he does not feel urgency to sign since he can technically agree to a new contract at any time this season.
Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, categorized the situation similarly to NBC Sports Washington on Friday. He guided Beal through the process last time, saying that deal was “designed to put him in this position.”
“It’s not a contentious thing,” Bartelstein said. “There’s a lot of different scenarios for how this could go.”
Bartelstein added Beal is excited for the new season and believes the organization is heading in a positive direction.
Additionally, Beal does not plan on setting any unofficial deadlines to avoid negotiating during the season. While that is common for pro athletes, Beal is leaving much of the talking up to Bartelstein, Sheppard and team chairman Ted Leonsis and doesn’t foresee it being a distraction.
Naturally, the noise could grow louder as it pertains to trade rumors, which Beal has grown accustomed to in recent years. But there is a flip-side to that. By waiting he could both base his decision on how the Wizards’ new-look roster comes together this season and put indirect pressure on the front office to continue building forward.
The way things went last time, though, may suggest caution for setting an expectation one way or another. The outside consensus was that Beal wouldn’t sign an extension in 2019, that he could make more money if he waited. Ultimately, the Wizards and Beal found a deal that worked.
Now, they are back at the negotiating table once again.