The Washington Wizards have made it known for most of the year that their intention in free agency was to re-sign free agent Bradley Beal coming off his rookie contract, and that they would match any offer for him in restricted free agency. On Friday, they got a deal done, as Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski that they have reached an agreement on a five-year, $128 million-plus max contract for the 23-year-old wing.
As expected, Bradley Beal and Wizards are working toward a five-year max deal worth a projected $128 million, league source confirms.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 1, 2016
With this contract, Beal joins John Wall as the highest-paid players on the Wizards and this cements Beal as a core fixture of the team's future. Here are five things to know:
- There are risks here. Beal has yet to play an 82-game season, has never played more than 73, and played less than 60 twice in four years. His injury concerns, especially in regards to the stress fractures in his leg, have been very serious and given him major issues. There's a good chance he can leave those issues behind the way a lot of young players do, but there's also a risk he's never healthy and becomes Eric Gordon. This is $128 million to a player who has not been able to stay healthy. That's a concern.
- It's not going to limit them in free agency. The Wizards basically cleared their books outside of John Wall to try and sign Kevin Durant this summer, and because the Wizards own Beal's Bird rights, they can wait, and then re-sign him at the end to go over the cap and/or into the luxury tax. So Beal will be the final piece of the puzzle in whatever additions they look to make this summer.
- He's a great fit with Wall. Beal complements Wall's athleticism with his shooting and smooth skillset. He can also create his own shot which is something the Wizards really need. He's got great base defensive skills and projects as a good defensive player long-term. He's also an underrated playmaker. Beal has a more complete game than most think of, considering his reputation as a shooter. Though, he is a 40 percent career 3-point shooter.
- Beal would make more than Wall. Beal will stand to earn $48 million more than his star teammate made on his current contract. That's got to drive Wall absolutely crazy, considering his revulsion for what Reggie Jackson made last summer.
- Beal's value is mitigated to a degree by his shot selection. He still looks to go for the pump-fake and mid-range two-point jumper. He just can't help himself.
This is a no-brainer deal for the Wizards that everyone saw coming for months, but it's still good that the Wizards didn't try and get cute with one of their core players. Now they just have to get him healthy, for the majority of five years.