Bradley Beal declines player option for next season, becomes unrestricted free agent: Report

Wizards star Bradley Beal declined his 2022-23 player option worth $36.4 million Wednesday, becoming an unrestricted free agent, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Beal’s decision to enter unrestricted free agency has been considered a foregone conclusion within NBA circles for weeks, perhaps months, because unrestricted free agency will put him in a position to earn a higher average salary over an extended period.

If Beal decides to re-sign with the Wizards, which is a widely expected outcome within league circles, the Wizards will have the ability to offer him a maximum total of $251.0 million over five years. That amounts to an average salary of $50.2 million per season. (Those updated figures are based on the brand-new projected 2022-23 league salary-cap figure of $123.655 million.)

Any other free-agent suitor, even in a sign-and-trade, would only be permitted to offer Beal a maximum total of $186 million over four years. That would amount to an approximate average of $46.5 million per season.

Beal averaged 23.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 40 games last season. His season ended early because of wrist surgery, but he is now doing on-court work with no limitations and is expected to be ready to play before the start of training camp in late September.

Beal is a three-time All-Star and automatically becomes one of the biggest names available this offseason. He averaged 30-plus points in back-to-back seasons prior to last season.

(Photo: Tommy Gilligan / USA Today)

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