At the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, the Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal was traded to the Phoenix Suns via trade request. However, as it turns out, he had his eyes set on another team.
On Monday, Beal told NBA writer Marc J. Spears that his preferred destination was actually the Miami Heat:
"“So, my initial favorite was Miami. And so, we call Miami. [Miami president] Pat [Riley] says well I’ll go talk to [owner] Micky [Arison] and figure it out. So he goes, talks to Micky, we go, we hear back Knicks, Sacramento, Brooklyn…Milwaukee and it was one more big team … And that was kind of one of the most difficult things about every trade and every team. And I respect and love every team, but a lot of them just couldn’t do it because the money was just so high.”"
Although he is now a member of the Suns, a trade to Miami could’ve worked out for both Beal and the Heat.
Despite being 30 years old and entering his 12th season, Beal still has a lot to offer. Last season, he logged in 23 points per game but has always been an efficient scorer, averaging 22 points for his career. He even averaged 30-plus points for two consecutive seasons. His 3-point shooting continues to stand as he shoots an impressive 37 percent for his career.
When he doesn’t score, he’s still impactful. His playmaking skills have improved over the years and is a masterful pick-and-roll operator now. As for the other side of the ball, he can be a decent defender for his position when he wants to be but it’s certainly not his forte.
After the season the Miami Heat had last year, they could have used Beal. They ranked last in scoring for the season with an average of 109 points per game. Obviously, Beal could have helped in that category. But his preference of utilizing the pick-and-roll is what they really could have used, taking into account that center Bam Adebayo is one of the league’s best roll men.
If the Heat did decide to go after Beal, they would’ve been forced to give up some assets. Tyler Herro has been the center of trade talks and after the inconsistent year he had, he might’ve been the one who they moved. But there’s also Kyle Lowry, who is entering the last year of his three-year deal. Miami would have had to tack on first-round draft picks and pick swaps, similar to what the Suns gave up for Beal.
It may have been a good thing for the Wizards that the trade didn’t occur. The Wizards, who are currently in a rebuild status, are focused on forming their franchise with young talent. Granted, Herro is only 23 years old but he has yet to prove himself as a consistent scorer, something the Wizards desperately need. Age isn’t the only factor keeping the Wizards from going through with such a deal, though. They are already heavy in the guard position with a total of seven guards.
As for the Heat, this was another great opportunity they missed out on. Perhaps they wanted to save their assets for Damian Lillard. However, after months of expecting to acquire the seven-time All-Star, they lost him to their Eastern Conference rivals, the Milwaukee Bucks.
With the season now in full effect, the Heat will try to make another Finals run with nearly the same roster. Depending on how this season goes, they may regret not trading for Beal.