The pairing of the Miami Heat and Bradley Beal generated a lot of chatter last summer. Now Beal clarified why he acted like he did. That revelation could serve as a blueprint for the Heat. Seems like Dwyane Wade’s “Last Dance” tour had quite an impact on several players in the NBA.
Eric Myers of NBCsports quoted Beal saying to Chris Haynes, “I respect the fact that they drafted me, that’s first and foremost. Just being in one spot for your whole career, having your jersey in the rafter one day, being that important to an organization, those were all things that drew me.”
Then Myers goes on to mention how players talk among each and seek advice on what to do next. The NBA fraternity definitely has “banana boats” floating around the league outside the lines of the court.
“Last summer, Beal said he spoke with current and former NBA stars about his pending decision. He consulted Portland Trail Blazers’ star guard Damian Lillard, who decided to stay with his original team with a supermax contract extension in June, and Ray Allen, who was loyal to the Milwaukee Bucks early in his career.”
“After those conversations, it was clear to him that staying in Washington was better than chasing rings through requesting a trade,” Myers writes.
“Honestly, I thought that was kind of the easy way out,” Beal said. “It’ll feel more meaningful and powerful knowing that I grinded it out doing it in D.C. It’s pretty much my team, I’m the franchise here, so it was kind of destined for me to kind of mold it from here.”
That reasoning explains why some players chose to stay with the teams that drafted them or leave. Anthony Davis left, while the case of Giannis Antetokounmpo remains to be determined. Now should Miami build on future of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, or be swayed by “experts” in the media?
Currently at 31-13 “everyone” is advising that Miami is only a “piece away” from contending for a championship. That piece could be lying in plain sight under the Heat’s noses.
Look how the New Orleans Pelicans lost both Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, yet have skyrocketed to national prominence in their absence with Zion Williamson. The Milwaukee Bucks dominate the East with their 15th draft pick Antetokounmpo. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors didn’t become an All-Star until his fifth NBA season.
The Heat have two presumptive All-Stars, plus two players who could be on the NBA All-Rookie team. Also Miami may unearth another gem with their 2020 draft pick. Despite imperfections the Heat have several players who could contribute to make the current record seem more than a fluke.
“Amazing Grace” could be the story of Dion Waiters if he surrenders wholeheartedly to Heat Culture. The hymn tells the story of no-good wretch John Newton who finally saw the light, and was saved by the grace of God, which is “unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it.” Can Waiters disavow his wayward lifestyle of Philly Cheese and fulfill the promise of a lottery pick?
Maybe Justise Winslow could become healthy like Curry, who overcame severe ankle problems during his first three seasons. After all Winslow is still only 23 and yet to reach his prime. Josh Richardson might opt out of the last year of his contract to rejoin his former teammates Adebayo and Winslow.
The Beal saga illustrates how players look at their basketball careers. The twists and turns seem guided by making huge hauls of money. For some players that’s the case, but not for others.