Looking Ahead: Wizards Ball-Handlers Set Going Forward

With the 2019-20 season in significant doubt, it’s time to look ahead. This campaign was marked by many losses, but in doing so, the Wizards were able to experiment with new players and rotations. The team discovered gems Rui Hachimura and Dāvis Bertāns, and paired with the continued development of superstar Bradley Beal and rising role player Troy Brown Jr., the team is looking like one that could contend for a 7th or 8th seed in the coming years. Let’s take a look at the team’s contract situation.

PG John Wall is under contract through the 2022-23 season on his supermax deal. For the next three years, he’s going to be earning $41 million, $44 million, and $47 million respectively. Yeesh. Big cap hit. But he’s the team’s leader, right? And the Wizards rewarded him as such.

SG Bradley Beal is under contract through next season, and I’m sure the front office is antsy to keep him under contract for years to come after a season spent putting up historic scoring numbers. He’ll be paid about $29 million in 2020-21. Let the trade rumors swirl.

PG Shabazz Napier is on the last year of his deal and could look to test free agency after his best season as a pro. Averaging 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game, he’ll hope to land as a backup PG for a contender. If he can be brought back for under $7 million a year, I’d love to see him in a Wizards uniform in the future. But with Wall and Beal’s collective $70+ million on the books, as well as Ish Smith under contract, it doesn’t make sense to spend much more on the backcourt.

PG Ish Smith fans can rest easy. The MVP of early January is under contract through next season for $6 million. He’s a reliable backup PG on a team that isn’t looking to get too competitive just yet, and he’ll continue to fill that role. Ish will be 32 when next season starts, so I doubt he’ll be signed past then.

G Gary Payton II will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, and he provided a defensive spark when the team was at its lowest points of the season. He’s a good candidate to be re-signed on a minimum contract — maybe as the backup PG of the future if the team doesn’t want to stick with Ish.

Again, considering the fact that Wall, Beal, and Smith are all under team control until the end of next season — barring anything major — it’s doubtful that the Wiz will look to make a major move at any of these positions.

Check out my analysis of the Wizards’ wings and big men as well.

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