- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Finally, on Tuesday, the marquee name associated with the Washington Wizards offseason became part of a press release.

The team announced it had re-signed shooting guard Bradley Beal, who was a restricted free agent. Beal receives a maximum contract which will make him the highest-paid player on the team despite being just 23 years old and missing numerous games in each of his four NBA seasons because of injury. His age and injury history also bolster the flip side of the discussion around Beal, the potential-based, what-if talk that follows him each season.

The Wizards view Beal as a future all-star. That projection has been made for at least two consecutive seasons, neither of which Beal has played more than 63 games or come close to participating in the league’s weekend bonanza each February.

Bradley has proven himself as one of the top young shooting guards in the league, and we feel that he has the potential to rise to an elite level as he enters the prime of his career as one of the cornerstones of our team,” Wizards general manager Ernie Grunfeld said in a statement. “He is an outstanding member of the community and a great example of the type of player and person we want to represent our franchise.”

Beal’s offensive and defensive ratings have remained flat during his short career. He played a career-low 55 games last season because of various injuries, including the beginning of a stress fracture in his pesky lower right leg, a place that he has dealt with an injury in each of his four seasons. The 55 games played was short of the 56 he participated in during his rookie season in 2013.



Though last season, Beal’s effective field-goal percentage, which account for his 3-point shooting ability, rose to a career-high 51.5 percent after Beal weeded out many of the long two-point shots he would often take and miss in the past. Beal has also increased his scoring average and overall aggressiveness in the two postseasons he has participated in.

Because of the five-year, approximately $128 million deal Beal received, he was re-signed after the Wizards inked other free agents this offseason. Washington needed to have its salary cap space in order before it could finalize the hefty deal with Beal.

The team signed several other young players during the offseason, turning the leadership roles within the locker room fully over to Beal and John Wall, 26. Though the duo is less than 50 years old combined, they have already played 10 combined NBA seasons. They will be together until at least 2019, when Wall, a three-time all-star, can become an unrestricted free agent.

Beal with participate in a press conference along with coach Scott Brooks, Grunfeld and owner Ted Leonsis on Wednesday morning.

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