There’s a sadistic part of me that wants to see Washington stick it out in the Kevin Durant race until the very end, refusing to touch their cap space on the faint hope that he might come and losing Bradley Beal because of it. If any team were dumb and desperate enough to let that happen, it’s the Wizards.
This publication has made its thoughts on Beal very clear, but that doesn’t mean the Wizards are in a position to let any good players walk away for nothing. John Wall is their only real cornerstone right now. They can’t lose their talent, they just aren’t good enough.
But that’s not going to stop some enterprising team from jumping in on Beal from the start of free agency and making the Wizards sweat. Atlanta’s an interesting option if they decide to concede the loss of Al Horford. Orlando could get in on it, Beal did go to college there after all. The Nets would absolutely love Beal and it’s not like there would be any opportunity cost to the space they’d have to hold for him because nobody else wants to play there anyway.
The Beal free agency is going to be a game of chicken for Washington. Can they convince Beal to wait around for them to spend their cap space when it might cost him a max offer elsewhere? Will Washington seriously risk losing him for the slight chance they sign a star?
My ultimate guess is that they tap out of the Durant sweepstakes if anyone seriously pursues Beal. They have to suspect it’s not realistic. But you never know with Ted Leonsis. One smile too many in the Durant pitch meeting and he might just be sold. And then, two weeks later, Beal is a Nugget and the Wizards are left with nothing. It would certainly be the funniest move of the offseason. It’s just not the likeliest.
Likely Contract: Four Years, Max