The Wizards went through the first step to retain Bradley Beal this offseason, making him a $14.2 million qualifying offer last night to keep him a restricted free agent so they can have the first right of refusal, league sources confirm to CSNmidatlantic.com.
Beal could field an offer from another team and give the Wizards 72 hours to match, but that's unlikely to happen.
The expectation is that once the roster is retooled using their $30 million in cap room, the Wizards will then sign him to a max deal by exercising Beal's Bird rights which is an exception that allows the team to exceed the cap to retain its own free agent.
If the Wizards didn't give Beal a qualifying offer, he would've become an unrestricted free agent and would've been able to walk without any compensation. In this scenario, he can walk if the Wizards refuse to match an outside offer.
Beal is coming off a four-year rookie scale contract that paid him an average salary of about $4.7 million per. He earned $7.4 million last season.
With the salary cap rising from $70 million in 2015-16 to about $94 million in 2016-17, Beal is slated to earn about $22 million in the first year of his deal.
Bird rights allows them to offer him an extra year with 7.5% raises each year of the deal. If Beal were to leave, he'd get one less year with 4.5% raises. This was a clause added in the 2011 collective barganing agreement to give teams more leverage to retain their own free agents.
Beal's qualifying offer ($14.2 million) is a cap hold determined by a formula in the CBA to hold his roster spot. Because he'll command $22 million-plus as a free agent in an unusual spike in the cap, the Wizards are able to actually have more room when pursuing free agents before actually signing him using Bird rights.
RELATED: BEST FREE AGENT FITS FOR THE WIZARDS