The Summer of 2016: Add Bradley Beal’s Name to Free Agent List

In the fall of 2015, shooting guard Jimmy Butler did not sign a contract extension with the Chicago Bulls, preferring to, as Butler put it, “bet on myself.” One year later, the script is nearly the same. Bradley Beal didn’t sign a contract extension with the Washington Wizards. The decision was less about “betting on himself” and more about getting an extra year on the deal by waiting nine months.

Beal, a restricted free agent in 2016, will be the direct beneficiary of money dropping into the laps of NBA franchises by way of television revenue. The summer of 2016 will shift into gear an unprecedented spending frenzy as the dollars reach hurricane levels of excess. Players who deserve it will get paid. Players who don’t will get overpaid. And those who signed contracts this year will be envious of the gravy train they missed out on.

If Beal had signed the extension the Wizards had on the table, less than the $21 million he was asking for, it would have been a compromise on his part. In extension talks, Beal was not allowed a five year extension because NBA rules allow only one five year extension per team. John Wall was the recipient of that extension two years ago. It suppressed what Beal was able to negotiate. He and the Wizards decided to table talks and resume them next year.

The Wizards are using the Spurs model in their free agency strategy. This time last year, the Spurs tabled their discussions with Kawhi Leonard until the summer. They then paid Leonard a max deal in July and then signed LaMarcus Aldridge to a max deal soon thereafter.

The Wizards are hoping to do the same. They can offer Beal a max salary and then offer Kevin Durant a max salary. And if Durant balks, they still will have money left over to offer Nic Batum, Evan Turner, Luol Deng, Jeff Green, Ryan Anderson. The Wizards are in need of a veteran small forward to pair with Wall and Beal.

Bradley Beal will be 23 years old when he signs his new deal. He is the fourth best shooting guard in the NBA, behind James Harden, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler. But you wouldn’t believe that after Wednesday night’s game against the Spurs when he hit a game winner.

Harden is a franchise player. Thompson and Butler are bigger and better defenders. Harden and Thompson are never injured. Harden and Beal are last minute shot makers.


 Career  Field Goal Percentage  3-Point Percentage   Games Played (Average)
 James  Harden  44%  36%  75
 Klay Thompson  44%  41%  76
 Jimmy Butler  44%  40%  64
 Bradley Beal  42%  40%  63


 Career Shooting  0-3 feet %  3-10 feet%  10-16 feet%  long two’s
 James Harden  62%  31%  41%  36%
 Klay Thompson  65%  31%  38%  42%
 Jimmy Butler  62%  29%  40%  35%
Bradley Beal  63%  34%  35%  36%

Beal is happy the contract situation is in the past and he can focus on getting the Wizards out of the second round and into the Eastern Conference Finals.

“It comes to the point where if you’re confident in yourself and you believe in yourself, things are going to fall into place for you, and that’s what I am trying to do. I’m just going to play out my year and if I get it, I get it. And if I don’t, I don’t. At least I can sit here and say I did my best throughout the year and gave it all.”

photo via llananba