Bradley Beal made headlines when he signed a two-year, $72-million contract extension with the Wizards. It established him as a superstar and the likely heir to the Wizards after John Wall.
While the two are relatively close in age, Wall’s injury history makes it likely that someone else will take the reins of the franchise soon. Wall likely has plenty of his NBA career in front of him. But the extension makes it clear that the Wizards want Beal for the long-term, too.
This extension brings Beal to the 10-year mark of his NBA career, making him eligible for the 10-year-plus contract. This means he can take up 35% of the salary cap. In 2022, Beal could sign the largest contract in NBA history at five years, $226 million.
The Wizards’ run with Beal this season
So far, the Wizards are struggling in 2019-20, currently sitting on a 12-24 record. The team ranks fifth in the NBA when it comes to scoring (115.6 points per game as of January 7, 2019), but dead last in points allowed (120.1), according to NBA.com.
This relatively small spread, along with Beal’s superstar talent, means the Wizards aren’t far from turning things around. Regardless, the team’s vulnerable defense needs to change. Although Wall is unlikely to return before next season, his recovery is progressing on schedule, reports NBC Sports.
Beal’s talent and hard work have turned him into an NBA superstar, but the 26-year-old exhibited a mind for the game and awareness of his surroundings long before he signed a massive deal.
After Beal made his way to the NBA following a successful year at the University of Florida, he sat down for an interview with The Wall Street Journal as part of the Rookie Transition Program. When asked about his fears, Beal gave a standard response — but one that was perfect for the athlete.
Bradley Beal’s only fear
“I guess the only thing I’m afraid of is failing, honestly,” Beal explained. “Because I’m the type of guy that likes to make everybody proud … You see all these guys who go through it and you always say, ‘That’s not gonna be me,’ but you never know what may happen in your life.”
In the seven years since the interview, Beal has gone from a promising rookie to a team-leading star. The Wizards occupy a spot in the lower half of the NBA standings. But if things start breaking differently, they could become a playoff threat.
The team is only a few games below .500. That’s close to the playoff standings’ cutoff most years. After all, the Pistons made it at 41-41 last year, so there’s hope for Washington.
Beal’s future with the Wizards
Regardless of whether or not the Wizards make the playoffs and regardless of Wall’s return, Beal has found his place guiding a young team to the next level.
At the time of the 2019 NBA Roster Survey, the Wizards had a younger-than-average team, with a total of seven players 22 years or younger. If Beal decides to stay with Washington and consider a historic contract in two years, the group of players he helped grow will surround him.
Whether he stays or goes, the hope Beal has already brought to Washington means he doesn’t have to worry about his biggest fear at all.
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