Bradley Beal is one of the top NBA free agents this summer and expected to land a record-breaking contract. If the Miami Heat want to land the All-Star guard, though, it will require one of the largest trades in franchise history.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported in March that Miami is viewed as a legitimate suitor for Beal if he chooses to leave the Washington Wizards. While the 28-year-old guard loves his time in Washington and prefers to spend his entire career with one organization, each disappointing season increases the chance of a departure.
Following an Eastern Conference finals that saw Jimmy Butler largely carry Miami to Game 7, the Heat recognize their top player needs more help. If Miami is going to win a title with its veteran core, becoming NBA Finals champions for the first time since 2013, a big move needs to happen this summer.
Let’s examine what a Bradley Beal trade might cost and how he would impact the Miami Heat.
Projecting a Bradley Beal trade with the Washington Wizards
If Beal requests a trade, the Wizards will grant his wish after providing outstanding play for the franchise across a decade. A potential bidding war on the trade market would certainly make things interesting for Washington, but Miami stands out as an intriguing fit.
From a financial perspective, the Heat could approach Beal about exercising his $36.422 million player option for the 2022-’23 season. It would be in an effort to save money as the existing contract already includes a 15% trade kicker. Assuming he declines and wants to sign a long-term deal, increasing his salary in 2022 and beyond, then Miami signs Herro to an extension as part of a sign-and-trade with Duncan Robinson’s salary attached.
- Washington Wizards trade: Bradley Beal
- Miami Heat trade: Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, 2024 1st, 2026 1st, swap rights in 2028
For Washington, the rationale is simple. Herro immediately comes in and provides the franchise with an exciting, young player it can build around and market. While Miami’s 2024 first-round pick will likely be outside the top-26 picks, the future selections offer opportunities to draft much higher. Plus, heading to Florida to team up with Butler would likely get Beal to sign off on the deal.
There is the possibility of a three-team trade if Washington immediately wants to move off Robinson, exploring its options with other teams. The sharpshooter has lost plenty of his value since signing the $90 million contract, but it’s possible another franchise would explore buying low on him.
Evaluating Bradley Beal’s fit with Miami Heat
Miami saw what happened in the NBA playoffs. While Butler cemented his status as a future Hall of Famer, averaging 25.6 points and seven rebounds against the Boston Celtics, many of his teammates didn’t step up. Ultimately, Butler’s 35-point effort in Game 7 wasn’t enough because Kyle Lowry (12 points on 15 shots) failed in big moments.
Butler needs a co-star. Issues with the half-court offense proved especially problematic without the necessary help Butler needed. In terms of just how bad things got during the playoffs, Miami finished with an awful 90.3 points per 100 possessions in the half-court offense.
- Bradley Beal stats (2021-’22): 23.2 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.7 rpg, 106 Offensive Rating
Beal can be that guy. Even if he is a defensive liability, the perennial All-Star guard holds a career .563 True Shooting percentage. He can operate in a variety of ways, as demonstrated by his distributions of shots within 3-10 feet (25.2%), 10-16 feet (17.1%) and from beyond the arc (27.2%) this past season. He’s also coming off a season with a career-high 30.8% assist rate and he brought his usage rate down.
If the Heat operated with a “Big Three” of Adebayo, Butler and Beal in the Eastern Conference finals, they likely face the Golden State Warriors for a shot at the NBA title. After so many years of disappointment in the playoffs, Butler and the organization are growing frustrated. Those feelings often cause action and for Miami’s aggressive front office, that leaves the door open to a blockbuster trade this summer.