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Beal: 'It just makes sense' to wait on new contract with Wizards


Beal: 'It just makes sense' to wait on new contract with Wizards

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld put his massive right hand on Bradley Beal's shoulder as he walked off the practice court, just hours after contract talks on an extension broke off Monday before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.

"It's a weight lifted off my shoulders," said Beal, who was seeking a max contract extension in the fourth and final year of his rookie deal, of it being over for now. "It's business at the end of the day. We couldn't reach an agreement. It's not going to stop me from being the player I am. It's not going to stop me from continuing to work hard. Or it doesn't mean I'm not going to be part of the organization. I'm just controlling what I can control and let Ernie and my agent deal with it."

With both sides seemingly far apart, there was a "mutual" decision, Beal's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told CSNmidatlantic.com on Monday, to table talks until next summer. Beal will be a restricted free agent, which means the Wizards still will have the right to match any offer sheet to retain him. A person with the Wizards with knowledge of the situation confirmed Bartelstein's portrayal of the "mutual" decision. Both sides have been stuck in neutral since July.

Beal expects to be with the Wizards, who value their backcourt with him and John Wall. Beal likely will earn more than the five years, $80 million that Wall received two summers ago because the salary cap is expected to balloon from $70 million this year to $90 million next year and $108 million in 2017-18.

"Yes. Either way it goes they can match any offer. Hopefully I'll be here. That's my goal," Beal said. "I love being in D.C. I'm a cornerstone of this thing. I want to be part of this for a long time. It's unfortunate we couldn't get a deal done but here's no hard feelings. There's no beef between Ernie and I or the organization. We're still good."

Bartelstein, Beal said, explained to him the benefit of holding out to reach a deal. For the Wizards, they keep flexibility with option years on several contracts and some current ones that will come off the books completely. Plus, they own what's called "Bird rights" on Beal which means they'll be able to exceed the salary cap to re-sign him next summer because he's their free agent. 

"That's what my agent and I, we sat down and talked about. And my family and I," Beal said. "It was a long process. It just makes sense that it was the best decision for us. On top of that, we want more flexibility for next summer to bring guys in. I'm confident we can win this year with the guys we have. They still have hopes and dreams of bringing a few players in here, too."

One of those players: Kevin Durant, who will be a free agent from the Oklahoma City Thunder and a D.C. native. 

"It comes to a point where if you're confident in yourself, if you believe in yourself, it's going to fall into place for you," Beal, who has had three consecutive seasons of stress injuries in his lower right leg and realizes there's risk involved with waiting. "That's what I'm trying to do, play out my year and see how I do. If I get it, I get it. If I don't, I don't. At least I can sit here and say I did my best throughout the year."


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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards drop to precarious position in close Eastern Conference playoff race

As if they needed a reminder, the Wizards saw firsthand on Wednesday night just how much can change in a short period of time in the Eastern Conference playoff race where just two games separate the No. 3 and No. 6 teams.

That No. 6 team is now your Washington Wizards, who began the day in fourth place but lost their first game in four days on the same night both the Cavs and Sixers won theirs. 

The Wizards lost to the Spurs on Wednesday and managed only 90 points, their fewest since Jan. 22. It was a lackluster performance in a game the Wizards needed to treat with urgency. 

The Spurs sure did.

"We've gotta have a better mentality coming into games," guard Bradley Beal said. "The Spurs were fighting for playoff seeding just like we were."

The Wizards have now lost six of their last 10, yet all those games have come against teams currently holding playoff spots. Considering John Wall remains out with a left knee injury, it's hard to fault them too much when they are staying afloat just fine in the big picture.


The problem is that the closer they get to the end of the season, the more these losses are magnified. They amount to missed opportunities, some bigger than others.

That was not lost on Beal, who considered the alternative. If the Wizards had beaten the Spurs, they would be sitting in fourth, two spots higher, and just a game-and-a-half out of third.

"Every time we have a chance to move up, we take two steps back," Beal lamented.

The Wizards are in a high stakes part of the standings where plenty is in the balance. They are fighting for home-court advantage, something they would get in the third or fourth spots. And who they match up with will be paramount.


By falling to sixth, the Wizards are currently in line to play the Cleveland Cavaliers. Though the Pacers and Sixers are also good teams, they don't have LeBron James. Avoiding him and the Cavs would be ideal for the Wizards.

Beal has even bigger worries than that. He noted after the loss in San Antonio that they could fall even further if they aren't careful. They are now just a game-and-a-half up on the seventh-place Heat. 

"We've gotta realize what's at stake, man. The way we're going, we could keep dropping and mess around and be eighth. We've gotta do whatever it takes to win," he said.

The Wizards should be fine if the previous two months are any indication. But Wednesday night was another example of how precarious things are for them this season in the tightly-packed Eastern Conference.


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