The Miami Heat may be the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy with their roster. Pat Riley is always ready to go big game hunting. He added Jimmy Butler in the 2019 offseason, and two years later he also nabbed Kyle Lowry. Now, the Heat apparently have their eyes set on another offseason grand prix for 2022: Bradley Beal. The Heat are considered a ‘legitimate suitor’ for Beal if he chooses to seek a new team, according to Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The fit for Miami would be obvious. The Heat ranks No. 26 in clutch offense and No. 13 in half-court points per play offensively (by glass cleaning). If this team has a weakness, it’s that they make baskets in the tightest, slowest moments of big games. Adding a scorer like Beal would go a long way to solving that problem, and Miami’s defensive infrastructure could protect him at that end of the field in a way the Wizards largely haven’t been able to.
Of course, none of this matters without the consent of Beal and the wizards. Beal, currently injured, will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and all signs point to a new deal in Washington. Even if he wants to leave, Miami needs Washington’s cooperation. They don’t have a path to the maximum ceiling space, so they would need the wizards to cooperate in a trade. Ideally, this trade would come before the start of free agency, with Beal opting for the final year of his contract before moving to the Heat. A signing and trade is technically possible, but such a move would cap the Heat, and given their salary structure, such an arrangement could be untenable.
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Any trade package for Beal would likely center on young guard Tyler Herro, who is up for sixth man of the year. Duncan Robinson’s big contract would likely serve as salary ballast, and a combination of Miami’s young reserves in Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Omer Yurtseven would also likely be available. Additionally, the Heat tweaked the protections on a pick they owe Oklahoma City at the deadline, which also allows them to trade their 2022 first-round pick.
If Beal becomes available, he will attract interest from across the league. But Miami’s recruiting track record is well documented. They have a winning slate, a tax-free state, and the lure of South Beach on their side. If the Heat go all out trying to land Beal, they can make a compelling case for the All-Star guard.