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Brad Beal declines player option with the Wizards, becomes unrestricted free agent

Bradley Beal has done what was expected and declined his player option, paving the way for a big new contract with the team of his choosing.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards dribbles the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half at Capital One Arena on December 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
Patrick SmithAFP

Washington Wizards standout Bradley Beal will enter the NBA’s unrestricted free agent market after officially declining his $36.4 million player option for the upcoming 2022-23 season. Beal’s agency, Priority Sports, confirmed the decision to ESPN on Thursday, the deadline for teams and players to decide on options for next season.

The move allows Beal to seek a maximum contract extension worth just over $250 million over five years if he re-signs with the Wizards, or a four-year deal for approximately $185 million if he signs with another team. ESPN reported earlier this week that the industry expectation was for Beal to decline his option to sign a maximum extension with the Wizards, the team he has spent his entire 10-year career with.

Injury setback

The three-time All-Star is likely to receive a max deal despite an injury-plagued and down 2021-22 campaign in which he was limited to 40 games by an injury to his left wrist which required surgery. Beal finished the season shooting a career-low 30 percent from 3-point range. He finished second in the league scoring race in both 2019-20 and 2020-21, and was named to the All-NBA Third Team in that latter season after averaging a career-high 31.3 points per game for a Washington team that earned the Eastern Conference’s eighth playoff seed.

Should he return to Washington, Beal would have a new backcourt partner after the Wizards acquired point guard Monte Morris from the Denver Nuggets in a four-player trade Thursday. The Wizards also received veteran wing Will Barton from Denver while sending wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and reserve guard Ish Smith to the Nuggets.


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