Bradley Beal told Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes last month that he was being “selfish” for the first time in his career when evaluating his potential contract extension with the Wizards. Now, it appears that Beal will find free agency to be in his best interest.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Washington superstar “doesn’t plan to sign an extension and likely will skip his player option” as he approaches his first summer of free agency. With the trade deadline approaching next month, that could put the Wizards in a tough decision to decide whether to trade Beal or hope that he will still re-sign with Washington, although he has “made it clear” that he won’t sign an extension, which would be good for four years and just over $181 million.
If Beal opts for free agency, he could re-sign with the Wizards for even more, roughly $241 million over five years. This could, per multiple reports, be the main driving force for Beal deciding to wait on signing a deal, looking to secure the best possible contract rather than denying the extension because of a desire to leave Washington. Windhorst reports that both sides have been “transparent” in their discussions about a potential deal, and that there is a “measure of calm” in the organization that Beal will sign a contract in the offseason.
If Beal is indeed holding out to receive a higher payday, he would stand to make roughly $60 million more if he signs with Washington this summer, rather than another team. Of course, letting a star player get to free agency is a risk, but there appears to be multiple reasons why Washington would be confident that its three-time All-Star will stay put, even if it takes longer than the franchise might like.
Beal, an All-Star last season, is currently averaging 23.7 points per game this season, while shooting 45.3 percent from the floor. It’s a dropoff from his 31.3 points per game and 48.5 field goal percentage from last year, but he is still an offensive force for a Wizards team that got off to a fast start this season, but has sputtered of late and is now eighth in the Eastern Conference at 23-22 with the trade deadline less than a month away.