Why the Washington Wizards may be secretly hoping for expansion draft

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Rumors of the NBA expanding have exploded once again, this time with Commissioner Adam Silver himself adding fuel to the fire. Most teams would fear the possibility of expansion, but the Washington Wizards may be secretly hoping it happens.

One of the most well-known aspects of the NBA adding new teams is the expansion draft. This is where the new team(s) go through every team and select enough players to construct a roster.

Every team is allowed to protect a certain number of players though. It would likely be somewhere in the six to eight players range if the NBA votes to add two teams. If the league does a rapid expansion and has two teams ready right away after the new TV Media deal, they could theoretically have the draft done next offseason if they wanted to.

This is where the Washington Wizards may get excited.

One of the few benefits of an expansion draft for already established teams is the fact that it allows them to shed bad contracts for free. We all know where this is going.

Bradley Beal has one of the worst contracts in the league. He deserved it when he was averaging 30 points per game in back-to-back seasons, but not anymore. He turns 30 on June 28, he has struggled to stay healthy, and he is averaging 23 points per game. He is on a contract like Nikola Jokic’s deal.

While this may lead fans to ask, “why would expansion teams take Beal if his contract is so bad?” there is an answer. Historically, new teams coming into the league have not really cared about contract size and just wanted to get the best players available.

This may be the only way to drop Beal’s contract without the need of tacking on draft picks to incentivize the other teams. This also allows the Wizards to not pay that 15% trade incentive to their star.

While this does mean that the Washington Wizards wouldn’t get anything back for their star, they also would be in a situation where they can rebuild without having to sacrifice potential building blocks to do so.

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