After the recent wave of big-name marquee free agents fell into their respective places this summer, the focus now shifts on the next tier of stars that will soon hit the market in a year or two. One of them is Washington Wizards All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal.
Beal still has two years remaining on his contract – a five-year $127.1-million deal he signed in 2016. Given that the Wizards are currently in no man’s land, many are already speculating on Beal’s future with the team.
The Wizards have already offered a three-year $111-million maximum contract extension to Beal, but the All-Star two-guard hasn’t signed it yet – perhaps, will not at all – to keep his options open. He’s still under contract with the Wizards until the 2020-21 season anyway.
With Beal still locked up in Washington for at least the start of next season, here are some way-too-early predictions for the dynamic two-guard in 2019-20.
3. Beal Commits to Washington, Actually Signs Extension
Contrary to the belief of many, Beal secures his bag and signs the three-year $111-million offer from the Wizards. This will definitely be a shocker, as there are plenty of reasons as to why Beal shouldn’t commit to Washington right now.
For one, the 26-year old can earn much more than that if he waits and bets on himself this upcoming season. He’ll be eligible for a five-year, $254-million super-max contract should he make All-NBA in 2019-20.
Second, the Wizards are nowhere near from contention. While Beal has been to four playoff trips in his seven years in D.C., none of those were deep post-season runs. Likewise, the injury to All-Star point guard John Wall has dampened any hopes for Washington to be a playoff team this season. All of their chances hinge on Beal.
Nevertheless, while Beal has expressed frustration with the team in the past, he still hasn’t requested a trade. Moreover, Beal appears to love it in Washington. He recently won the 2019 Community Assist Award for his positive impact to the community.
Likewise, perhaps Beal might want to secure his money now. We’ve seen what happened with John Wall, who recently suggested that his backcourt-mate might sign the extension.
Wall, who suffered a debilitating Achilles injury last season, signed his extension two years prior to the expiration of his previous deal. Luckily for Wall (but unfortunately for Washington), his money is secure. Had he opted to wait out, Wall would have likely not gotten the money – all $171-million of them for the next four seasons – that he has on the books right now.
Perhaps these factors will be enough for Beal to commit five more years with the team that drafted him in 2012. He has until October 21 to make a decision.
2. Beal Balls Out of His Mind, Leads Wizards to Unlikely Playoff Run
A motivated Beal builds on a career 2018-19 season and ramps it up even further in 2019-20. He leads Washington to an unlikely playoff run despite many pundits writing them off even prior to the start of the season. He makes All-NBA and becomes eligible for the super-max. More importantly, he establishes himself as a legitimate superstar in the NBA.
This one is unlikely to happen, as the Wizards are projected to have one of the worst teams in the league next season. Just look at their depth chart, per ESPN. Their outlook certainly doesn’t look promising, especially with someone like Thomas Bryant being their second best player. Still, it’s still possible that Beal just plays out of his mind and actually leads this team to a playoff berth.
The Eastern Conference is still a wide-open race anyway. As of now, there are really just three legitimate contenders in the East next season – the Milwaukee Bucks, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Boston Celtics. The defending champion Toronto Raptors has fallen out of the top-tier teams and joins the middle-of-the-pack, along with the likes of the Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets (they won’t have Kevin Durant next year).
Usually, as we have seen in past years, there are two to three wildcard spots that go to teams that just sneak into the post-season.
Perhaps Beal can lead them to that spot by having an insane 2019-20 campaign.
1. Beal Gets Sick of Losing, Requests Trade
The Wizards have a predictably abysmal start to the season and the losses pile up, consequently ruling them out of the playoffs by as early December. As much as he loves the Washington community, Beal, who has been carrying the team on his back for the first three months of the season, just couldn’t stomach the losing anymore. Add the fact that the Wizards haven’t done anything to improve their season outlook.
In an effort to maximize the value that the Wizards can get for him, Beal requests for a trade with still a little less than two years remaining on his current deal. The Wizards are headed towards a youth movement, anyway. Why not fast-track that by dealing their most valuable trade chip, and in the process, tank the season away as soon as possible.
Several teams probably already have Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard on speed dial in the event that they make the two-time All-Star available for trade talks at some point this season.
Beal has established himself as one of the most dynamic scorers in the league and has the potential to become a number two guy on any contending team.
Certainly, teams that need that one missing piece to get them over the top would not hesitate in giving a few of their future assets for a legitimate star like Beal.