Bradley Beal finds ways to get better every season. Last season, he strengthened his floor game to help the Wizards survive John Wall’s absence and as a result, he wound up putting together his first 50-point game and made his first All-Star Game appearance. Even though he didn’t get a vote for All-NBA at the end of the season, there’s no question it was his most successful individual campaign to date.
Better still, he is only 25 years old. While players have generally made their biggest leaps by that age, players can still unlock hidden potential and change the way we think of them, as Victor Oladipo showed us last season.
He has shown off a lot of tools that can become even more deadly with time. He’s gotten considerably better at exploiting isolations, and he’s hitting stepback threes with more regularity than in years past. There’s a path for Beal to become a James Harden-lite if everything falls in place.
While that might seem far-fetched to some of you, most can agree it isn’t impossible. We can all envision a world where Beal improves and forces his way into the conversation as one of the best guards in the league, especially if DeMar DeRozan tails off in San Antonio this season.
What would make this difficult for Washington is that if Beal were to make that jump and earn an All-NBA spot next season, he would be eligible to sign a four-year supermax extension, just like the one John Wall got last season.
To date, there have only been two outcomes when players have become eligible for a supermax extension:
- The team gives them the extension (John Wall, Steph Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook)
- The team trades them (Kawhi Leonard)
Washington’s cap situation would almost certainly force them to make a major move, whether it’s moving Wall or Beal. The first year of Beal’s extension in 2021 would start at $42.6 million and he’d make over $192 million over the course of four years, based on current projections. The two of them alone would make $83.4 million in 2021-22, which would not leave the Wizards enough room under the cap to sign another player to a max deal with seven or more years of experience. In 2022-23, they’d combine to make over $90 million.
It’s still far too early for anyone to lose sleep over a scenario like this, but if Beal has shown us anything in his career, it’s that we shouldn’t dismiss anything out of hand.