For the first time in a while, the Washington Wizards don’t have bad contracts

Bradley Beal and John Wall of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal and John Wall of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards took plenty of strides forward this summer. They are younger, more dynamic, and finally have a direction. But perhaps the biggest gain for the Wizards this offseason was having financial flexibility for the first time in a long time.

The Wizards have been hampered by negative-value contracts in the last decade. The maximum contract extensions that John Wall and Bradley Beal had signed with the franchise were hindrances to financial flexibility for a long time. There were massive contracts for the likes of Otto Porter Jr. and Davis Bertans around the same time that completely tanked the Wizards’ ability to be players in the free-agent or trade market.

Now, the Washington Wizards’ books are completely clean thanks to a slew of moves to offload bad contracts. It feels good to finally have optionality in terms of how they want to spend their money.

There are very few non-rookie or non-minimum deals on the Wizards’ books. Kyle Kuzma, Daniel Gafford, Jordan Poole, Tyus Jones, Landry Shamet, Danilo Gallinari, and Delon Wright are the only players that have somewhat significant salaries.

Jones, Shamet, Gallinari, and Wright are all on expiring or non-guaranteed contracts. The Wizards should be able to move on from them easily and for a positive return.

Kuzma signed a 4-year, $90 million contract. For a two-way wing player entering his prime, that is certainly not a bad deal.

Gafford is due $40 million for the next three seasons. It certainly is not a bargain contract, but $13 million annually is backup money these days, and considering Gafford’s potential improvement, it probably is a reasonable contract.

Jordan Poole is beginning his 4-year, $128 million deal this season. His average salary of $32 million a year might be the only negative contract on Washington’s books. And considering the rising salary cap and the expected development from Poole, there is a chance it’s not a bad contract going forward. Even if Poole doesn’t take a step forward, a healthy, available, and productive 24-year-old making $32 million a season is much more palatable than the previous financial situations of Wall and Beal.

This is a fresh breath of air for the Washington Wizards as an organization. It will be fascinating to see what they do with the new-found financial flexibility.