Mad Max: Wizards Move $128 Million for Bradley Beal | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Mad Max: Wizards Move $128 Million for Bradley Beal

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Updated: July 1, 2016

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In the midst of a crazed NBA free agency 2016, where it took less than 20 minutes after midnight for a nationally reputable reporter to retweet a fake account claiming a fake deal, the Washington Wizards calmly broke news: They were nearing an agreement on the framework for a five-year, $128 million maximum deal with Bradley Beal. When you whiff on a chance for Kevin Durant in free agency, or rather Durant gives you the stiff arm, you must turn to your next best option.

Beal is a homegrown, 2012 Wizards draft pick who’s shown promise, is one of the better natural shooters in the NBA, and, yes, someone who’s been injured frequently. Games played over his first four NBA seasons: 56, 73, 63, and 55 (plus 11 playoff games in 2014 and 10 in 2015).

Since entering the league in 2012, 101 NBA players have attempted 800 or more 3-pointers; Beal’s 39.7 percent during this time ranks him 10th, tied with Kevin Durant. His percentage in last year’s injury-plagued season (38.7%) dropped to rookie year levels after he topped 40 percent in each his sophomore and third seasons.

Beal’s rate of 3-point attempts to all field goal attempts (3PAr), however, ranks 76th amongst those 101 players, which must increase. And it has: as a rookie Beal’s 3PAr was .344 and last season it was .339, after .299 and .304 in his second and third seasons respectively. So there could be diminishing returns with more attempts, but more likely is the case where Beal, having just turned 23 (1), is still getting his feet wet.

You must have shooters around John Wall, and you gotta keep them. Plus, Beal has a lot of room to improve in other areas—driving, getting to the free throw line (a priority for new coach Scott Brooks), ball-handling, and leading a team. The allure of what Beal could be, if healthy, has also bared fruit on a bigger stage, the NBA playoffs. His PER has jumped from the regular season in each postseason appearance—from 14.3 to 17.0 in 2013-14 and from 14.0 to 17.9 in 2014-15. Would you rather pay non-3-point shooting DeMar DeRozan (three years older than Beal) $145 million over five years or Beal $128 million over the same time period? Still undecided? DeRozan’s 16.3 career PER drops to 15.4 over three playoffs appearances (21.5 from the 2015-16 regular season to 14.2 in the 2016 playoffs).

At one point, one figured, given the parameters of restricted free agency, that the Wizards and Ernie Grunfeld would seek to let the market set Beal’s price, knowing that no other team could offer as many years (five) nor as much money. But with having to manage Beal’s expectations, and pride, that didn’t become practical, especially after the Wizards insisted for months that they would match any and every offer. And thus, the offers did not come (at least not right away), and Washington controlled the situation, not allowing their top priority (after Durant) to dangle, frustrations to grow, and ultimately, some other team to dictate the terms by offering Beal their version of a contract. Did the Wizards bid against themselves in a sense? Yes, just like they are bidding against years of poor perception (long prior to when Grunfeld arrived), a disinterested fan base, and the risk of losing Beal mentally, and for nothing.

The move to max Beal is uncertain in terms of payout, but it’s the right move. You keep him, you tune up zero gravity treadmills, you use virtual reality, you fire your head trainer, and you hope for the best. Every team deals with injuries. With Bradley Beal and with these market conditions, the talent is worth the cost.

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[Beach Coolin’ — via instagram/realdealbeal23]

  1. Beal was the 51st-youngest player in an NBA where 476 guys saw action last season.
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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.