- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Even before he had his interim label removed officially this week, general manager Tommy Sheppard was able to execute his vision for the Washington Wizards. The executive hit the reset button over the last few weeks, skewing the team drastically younger.

But Sheppard’s next idea may not be as easy to pull off.

The Wizards plan to offer star Bradley Beal a three-year, $111 million extension Friday — the first day the franchise is allowed to do so. Yet in speaking to reporters, Sheppard acknowledged Beal is not expected to make a quick decision about the offer.

Sheppard said the Wizards have to show Beal there are opportunities for the two-time All-Star to be a “fantastic player” in the District.

“Out of respect to him, [Friday] we’re going to have a conversation, but I don’t expect an answer anytime soon,” Sheppard said. “We have to show Bradley certainly, but he’s got a lot of things he has to do with his family, his agent, his life and decide, hey, whatever the future is for him.”

Beal has two years left on his contract, so the Wizards still maintain control of his rights for the foreseeable future, even if the 25-year-old passes on the extension.

But the Wizards would like to keep Beal for the longterm, which is why they are presenting him with an extension as soon as possible. If accepted, the three years would tack on to his current deal — keeping him under contract until 2024.

Beal is coming off a career season in which he averaged 25-5-5. With John Wall likely to miss all of next season with a torn Achilles, Beal has become the face of the franchise and Washington is interested in building a team around him.

Sheppard said he has maintained contact with Beal and Wall throughout the offseason, sharing the team’s plans with them to receive feedback. Sheppard added Beal has been on-board with Washington’s youth movement.

He described both players as “business partners” to the franchise.

Bradley was involved in all of this,” Sheppard said. “I’ll tell you this: He’s a cornerstone player. He’s a franchise player, but he’s also a Hall of Fame person. … Bradley is as patient of this plan and has been very, very much a great partner in this.

“He’s got two more years on his current contract and we intend to do everything we can to help him stay here as long as he wants to be here.”

Beal has repeatedly said he wants to stay with the Wizards longterm, though his agent told The Washington Post that nothing has been decided in terms of an extension. The shooting guard missed out on the chance to be offered a four-year, $191 million supermax extension this summer after missing out on All-NBA.

Beal can be offered the three-year, $111 million deal until Oct. 21. If he declines it, he’ll still be eligible to receive a four-year, $155 million extension next offseason — or a five-year, $254 million deal if he qualifies for the supermax.

If Beal were to reject Washington’s offer, Sheppard said it wouldn’t affect the team’s future approach with the guard.

The Wizards don’t plan to trade Beal, despite nibbles from around the league.

“With Bradley, if he was to say ‘no,’ if he was to say ‘yes,’ I think it’s all about what’s best for everybody in the room certainly,” Sheppard said. “With Bradley, he has the right to choose what he wants to do.”

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