The Wizards and Bradley Beal don't appear to be any closer to reaching terms on an extension -- the window is open until the start of the 2015-16 regular season -- with both sides downplaying to CSNwashington.com during the past few weeks about the progress of talks.
The good thing for them, of course, is that they haven't shut down negotiations over the shooting guard, who'll enter the final year of his rookie deal this season making $5.7 million. It could linger or everything could change at the drop of a dime.
This is something that John Wall went through during the summer of 2013, though his representatives quickly came to terms with president Ernie Grunfeld on a five-year, $80 million extension that kicked in last season.
The Wizards were sold on Wall, despite not having won more than 29 games in his first three NBA seasons, because they saw his ceiling. With little to work with, Wall made others around him so much better. Offensively, he was limited but getting better and as the roster was reconstructed Wall's production skyrocketed.
Trevor Ariza had the best season of his career with Wall. The same went for Martell Webster. He responded by producing two All-Star seasons and leading his team to the conference semifinals in the postseason. Wall even averaged 18 points and 10 assists vs. the Atlanta Hawks when he returned to play two games with multiple left wrist and hand fractures.
After multiple setbacks with leg injuries, the Wizards determined Wall's health was no longer an issue. That's not the case with Beal, who is coming off a lackluster third NBA season in which he had his third consecutive stress reaction in his lower right leg. The initial one, which happened at the end of his rookie season, was a referral injury after he continued to play on two sprained ankles.
His health has been the sticking point. The sprained ankles continued, including in the series with Atlanta though he played through it. While Beal believes he deserves a max contract -- and when looking around at the deals given out this summer, he certainly has a point -- the Wizards are hesitant to commit to such a four-year deal that's fully guaranteed. Beal averaged just 15.3 points, slightly above his 13.9 as a rookie, and doesn't get to the foul line enough for a player at his position to manufacture offense. That represents a slight shift from the feeling the Wizards had just a year ago.
If Beal goes into training camp in late September without an extension, he'll be asked about it. Based on what he has said recently, he'll shut that down quickly and defer to his agent Mark Bartelstein as he should. There will still be a month left to work things out, otherwise he'll become a restricted free agent next summer and both sides will have to table all discussions until then. The Wizards would be letting the market set his value and then match the best offer to retain him.
"It all depends. It's your mind-set," Wall, speaking at Las Vegas summer league in July, said about his extension hanging in the balance going into his fourth season. "Me, even if I wouldn't have gotten mine, my whole mind-set was I want to try to get better.
"If the team that you want to go back to might not reconsider you, other teams are looking at you so you still want to have a great year. They always say when it's a contract year everybody steps up and play better. It goes both ways."