Over the past few seasons, the Washington Wizards have been criticized with the way they’ve handled their free agents.
When John Wall became eligible for a contract extension, Ernie Grunfeld and Co. immediately signed him to a five-year max-level contract. After Marcin Gortat became an unrestricted free agent, the team rewarded him with a five-year deal as well.
Pundits questioned whether or not Wall was worth the max-level contract. For those who watched him play, it was pretty obvious that the superstar guard deserved the lengthy extension.
In hindsight, the Washington Wizards made the right decision involving both Wall and Gortat, especially since the salary cap will rise very soon. Their deals will essentially become bargains.
It might seem like the Wizards were quick to sign their top players to extensions without worrying about the future, but in fact, the team’s front office has made sure to not compromise their ability to land a top free agent in 2016.
The Wizards’ recent free agent signings all have deals that will expire in the summer of 2016, which would allow the team to sign Kevin Durant. Wall and Gortat will take up a lot of the team’s cap space, but they should have more than enough room to sign a max-level player when the time comes.
More importantly, the Washington Wizards have to make a decision involving Bradley Beal that will impact their future.
Beal, who will get a max-level contract from a team during free agency, has reportedly been offered a deal worth less than that by Washington:
That’s because he wants the maximum salary available and the Wizards have offered him less than that, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, because they want maximum salary-cap flexibility for free agents in July.
Knowing that he will get a max deal from a team in the not too distant future, Beal has made it clear that he won’t accept anything less than what he believes he’s worth. Since he won’t sign a deal worth less than the max, you can expect Beal to become a restricted free agent next summer.
Once Beal becomes a restricted free agent, the Washington Wizards will have the right to match any deal that he’s offered. While he could theoretically sign a contract sheet with a different team, I would be surprised if it even gets to that point.
The Wizards are doing the right thing by not giving Beal the max contract right now because it will allow them to potentially sign Durant in the summer. With or without Durant, Beal is going to end up signing a four-year max contract with the Washington Wizards. It’s inevitable.
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