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Bradley Beal gets no-trade clause, player option in Wizards contract

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 25: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the LA Clippers at Capital One Arena on January 25, 2022 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

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The easiest rebuttal to calls for the Wizards to chase a higher ceiling than they’ll likely reach with Bradley Beal: By re-signing him to a five-year, $251 million max contract, Washington retains a valuable asset that’d fetch major return if the team ever rebuilds.

But the Wizards will have a tough time leveraging Beal’s trade value.

Because he got a no-trade clause. And a player option. And a trade kicker.

Bobby Marks of ESPN:

Giving Beal a no-trade clause and a player option? Washington really lost this negotiation. If it even were a negotiation.

The Wizards obviously view Beal as their franchise player and are pleased he wants to stay. In an NBA where stars frequently leave lesser situations, Beal has shown unusual loyalty.

But Washington has had four straight losing seasons with Beal as its top player. If Beal continues to play like he did last season even before getting hurt, this contract will be disastrous.

If Beal gets back on track – which the 29-year-old should – he could opt out a year early to seek another raise or to leave. The Wizards are bearing more of the risk, Beal more of the upside.

Washington can’t even choose to trade Beal without his consent. If he’s ever on board with getting traded, Beal could approve only certain teams – lessening the Wizards’ return.

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA. Nobody has had one in years. Players must have eight years of NBA experience, including four with the team giving the contract, to be eligible for a no-trade clause. Even then, the team must agree. The Warriors didn’t give even Stephen Curry a no-trade clause.

The trade kicker is less significant than it appears. That can’t lift Beal’s salary above the max. So, it’ll matter only to the extent salary cap rises faster than his annual raises.

But this all adds up to a contract that’s even more player-friendly than it initially appeared.