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Aldridge: Wizards pass on Beal extension for now

Wizards plan to re-sign Bradley Beal next summer after they've made a big push to sign Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant

POSTED: Nov 2, 2015 1:18 PM ET

By David Aldridge

BY David Aldridge

TNT Analyst

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Washington's Bradley Beal has quickly become one of the top, young shooting guards in the NBA.

The Washington Wizards will not offer fourth-year guard Bradley Beal a contract extension before Monday night's deadline for Class of 2012 Draft picks, according to multiple sources. The decision is part of the Wizards' plans -- or, hopes -- that they will be able to sign an impact free agent next summer, while retaining Beal and All-Star point guard John Wall.

By not giving Beal an extension now, the Wizards will allow Beal to become a restricted free agent next summer, meaning other teams could sign him to offer sheets. But Washington would have the right to match any offer, which it most assuredly would do. The only potential problem is if Beal was not in agreement with the team's plan to wait, and wanted a deal now.

Beal's agent, Mark Bartlestein, declined comment.

Washington, of course, hopes to sign 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Wizards would then re-sign Beal and have a formidable trio to contend with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and the other Eastern Conference powers.

Washington's plan is similar to that of the San Antonio Spurs, who allowed 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to become a restricted free agent last summer rather than sign him to an extension last fall. The Spurs agreed to terms with Leonard on a max deal in the first minutes of free agency in July, but didn't officially sign him until after using their available cap room to sign free agent LaMarcus Aldridge.

But a plan is just a plan until it is executed. If the Wizards don't get Durant, they'll have to have a Plan B (or C) in place that is enticing to Beal.

The Wizards only have four players under contract next season: Wall, center Marcin Gortat, third-year forward Otto Porter and rookie forward Kelly Oubre. The four players total $36.358 million in salary, according to BasketballInsider.com's database.

Washington also has team options for 2016-17 for four players: Martell Webster, Kris Humphries, Drew Gooden and DeJuan Blair, but would likely renounce all four players to maximize potential cap room. Current projections for 2016-17 have the league's salary cap at around $89 million. Cap rules would require the Wizards to have at least three "cap holds" on their roster, representing money they'd pay to free agents at minimum rookie salaries. The team would also have a cap hold representing an increase on Beal's fourth-year salary on its books until it either re-signed him or renounced its rights to him.

The total amount Washington would have on its books under such a scenario would be around $54 million, leaving Washington with around $34 million in room if the current cap projection holds. If the Wizards then went after Durant, they could offer him a four-year max deal beginning at $26.7 million for 2016-17, or 30 percent of the cap, the maximum they could offer him. That would leave Washington with around $7 million to go after another free agent, while being able to go over the cap to re-sign Beal afterward.

If the Wizards had signed Beal to an extension now, it would have started at around $20 million for next season, which would have still left them enough room to max out Durant, but not enough to sign anyone else. By not extending Beal, Washington preserves that potential additional $7 million.

Beal has indicated he's happy in Washington and wants to remain, but he also wants to be paid like one of the top young two guards in the league -- which he has become at age 22.

The Golden State Warriors gave their young wing guard Klay Thompson a four-year extension last fall for $70 million rather than let him become a restricted free agent this past summer.

Among Beal's 2012 Draft class, only a handful of players have received new deals. Top pick Anthony Davis got a $145 million extension last June from the New Orleans Pelicans. Second overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist got a four-year, $52 million extension from the Charlotte Hornets in August. Damian Lillard, the sixth pick overall, got a $120 million deal from the Portland Trail Blazers last summer.

The Los Angeles Clippers' Austin Rivers (two years, $6.4 million; 10th overall in 2012) and the Milwauikee Bucks' John Henson (four years, $44 million; 14th overall) have also gotten new deals. Golden State will not extension swingman Harrison Barnes (seventh overall in 2012), and Detroit is not expected to extend center Andre Drummond (ninth overall in 2012) -- though the Pistons are expected to give him a max deal next summer.

Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.

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