After the Miami Heat completed a sign-and-trade deal for Jimmy Butler, rumors circulated that the team eyed Bradley Beal. But just before the season started, he signed a two-year extension with the Washington Wizards that makes him ineligible to be traded this year.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald spoke with Beal after Miami’s win over the Wizards last Friday. He praised the Heat organization but said that he “couldn’t make a decision based off uncertainty.”
“It’s both; it’s both,” Beal said. “This [Heat] organization is by far one of the best run in the league. What you hear from Pat Riley on down, from how coach Spo [Erik Spoelstra] is one of the best coaches in the league. You see the high character guys who come in and out. Having several championships here. It’s a championship caliber organization so you have to respect it.”
To me, these are nothing more cordial comments from Beal. He could have refused to sign the extension and asked to be traded to Miami — similar to how Anthony Davis engineered his way to the Los Angeles Lakers. But he didn’t.
The Heat, of course, will have cap space in 2021, when Giannis Antetokounmpo will be a free agent. Pat Riley said last month that he was open to a big trade before then if “it can make a huge difference.” Beal may have been good enough player to trade for now and avoid the 2021 uncertainty, but the earliest he can become a free agent now is 2022.
For now, Miami should continue to see their young players develop. Among Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow, the Heat have enough young players to either make a trade — or entice a free agent to sign in a year-and-a-half.