The Washington Wizards aren’t getting Kevin Durant. Shame. Fortunately for new coach Scott Brooks and superstar floor general John Wall, though, the team has already begun orchestrating its free agency contingency plan.
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, Bradley Beal has agreed to a five-year, $128 million deal that will keep him with Washington through 2021-22.
The 23-year-old’s mammoth new contract comes as no surprise. Even when they still had ambitions of bringing Durant home, word was the Wizards had plans to give Beal the maximum amount allowable – only after the 2014 MVP had made a decision on his playing future.
This developing scenario, absent Durant, of course, is no different. Washington, which owns Beal’s full Bird Rights and can thus exceed the salary cap to re-sign him, will only have enough financial flexibility to add another max-level free agent if its star shooting guard waits to sign his contract until other available chips have fallen.
Would bringing in a player of Horford or Batum’s caliber make up missing out on Durant? Not quite. There isn’t a player on the market who could single-handedly change the fortunes of this franchise like the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar.
But with their incumbent star backcourt and another major impact player (or two) on board for the long haul, the Wizards’ hopes for next season and beyond would still be plenty bright. Let’s see if Beal’s cooperation pays off.