The Washington Wizards have managed to pull off their first win of the 2019-20 season before the awaited campaign has even gotten started, handing the likes of the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Boston Celtics a massive L after their first superstar target was taken right off the market.
The Mystics won their first WNBA title, the Nationals swept their way to a World Series appearance, and now the Wizards — largely expected to be among the cellar-dwelling teams in the East — have Beal locked in for this season and then beyond, assuming no trade happens after this season.
The 26-year-old’s extension will kick in starting with the 2021-22 season, but has an opt out for the 2022-23 season, which will guarantee him max-level money and the utmost flexibility to leave if he chooses to do so. But there’s a reason why Beal went with a two-year extension with an opt out, instead of the three-year extension offer worth nearly $112 million the Wizards sent his way in July.
Bradley Beal will hit 10 years of NBA service after playing out his 2021-22 season, allowing him to rake in a potential five-year, $266 million deal, which would be the largest in NBA history.
The extension is a way for Beal to show his loyalty to the franchise while also setting himself up for the most lucrative deal possible, assuming he’s able to navigate the next few years without any major injuries or regressions.
Regardless of the intention, it is a major step forward for a dilapidated franchise that has its highest-earning player in John Wall sitting out the entire 2019-20 season with an Achilles injury — the latest of a wave of injuries that have plagued his career. By derivation, it’s also a massive blow to the hearts of aspiring teams that planned to trade for Beal, as it seems he has made up his mind about staying in Washington for the foreseeable future.
Players like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and Jimmy Butler professed their love for their respective cities, all before choosing to go elsewhere this past summer, but Beal has remained true to his word and has now put the ink to back it up accordingly.
Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has reshaped the way his front office and the developmental department work in Washington D.C., and Beal has been witness to that change and bought in after longtime president Ernie Grunfeld was fired at the end of the season. Tommy Sheppard was brought in as the interim general manager, and he quickly went to work even before getting the official GM title later in the summer.
While on an interim basis, Sheppard was the one who pulled the trigger on trading Dwight Howard and signed Thomas Bryant to a three-year deal. He also drafted Rui Hachimura and Admiral Schofield, two college players who had some years under their belt and are expected to be ready to contribute.
It was those moves of good faith that eventually made Bradley Beal think about his long-term stay in the nation’s capital and securing the bag before he’s forced to make some decisions once again later on. Huge W for #RepTheDistrict … not so much for would-be contenders.