After striking out in their pursuits of James Harden and, to a lesser extent, Giannis Antetokoumpo (recent recipient of a five-year max extension from the Bucks), where will the Heat turn their attention next? Still running on fumes from last year’s playoff run, the reigning Eastern Conference champs are off to a slow start, winning just four of their first 10 games. COVID hasn’t helped—All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo have spent the past two games as spectators amid the team’s recent outbreak—though even at full strength, it’s debatable whether the Heat have enough star power to compete with the likes of Brooklyn and Los Angeles.
If the Heat do pursue improvements, one player they could look to is Bradley Beal, a two-time All-Star and the NBA’s leading scorer this year at 34.9 points per game. Even with Beal playing at an all-league level and newcomer Russell Westbrook averaging close to a triple double (19.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 11.3 assists per game), the 3-8 Wizards are unlikely to be much of a threat in the Eastern Conference and could accelerate their rebuild by dealing one of Beal or Westbrook at the upcoming trade deadline. If Washington elects that path, Miami will surely have an interest in Beal with Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald describing the Heat’s “interest level” in the 27-year-old as “high.”
If the Wizards do make Beal available, the University of Florida alum won’t come cheap. Washington would likely require multiple first-round picks, rising star Tyler Herro and one of Duncan Robinson or Precious Achiuwa as compensation. Per Jackson, Miami’s talks with Houston broke off when the Heat weren’t willing to package all three of Herro, Robinson and Achiuwa in a trade for Harden.
If the price tag for Beal is too high, Miami could pivot to Victor Oladipo, who was hoping he’d wind up in Miami before the Pacers dealt him to Houston on Wednesday. Oladipo could probably be had in a trade, though Miami might prefer waiting until he becomes a free agent this summer.
The 6'3" Beal, who matched a franchise record by netting 60 points against the Sixers last week, is under contract through 2023.