Heat Could Land Wizards Star in ‘Wink & Nudge’ Draft Day Trade: B/R

Bradley Beal

Getty Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards during the NBA game at Footprint Center on December 16, 2021.

If the Miami Heat are looking to make a blockbuster trade this offseason to land Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal, the front office needs to be working overtime to make a deal possible before the 2022 NBA Draft kicks off on Thursday, June 23.

One of the Heat’s biggest tradeable assets is their first-round pick, which will be key for obtaining the three-time All-Star in the trade proposal set forth by Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes on Wednesday.

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Hughes urged the Heat to offer the Wizards Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, their No. 27 overall pick, and a 2023 first-round pick in exchange for Bradley Beal. While Hughes notes that Wizards might need more to accept, and could “demand swap rights on Miami’s 2028 first-rounder,” this trade is “on brand” for Miami since they don’t typically prioritize first-round picks.

Ever since Pat Riley became team president in 1995, Miami “exited the draft without a first-rounder in 2021, 2018, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2000, and 1998,” as reported by Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman.

Hughes wrote, “To avoid running afoul of the Stepien rule, the Heat would have to select someone with their No. 27 pick and then send that player to the Wizards. Doing so would allow them to trade their 2023 selection but would then preclude trading any future unprotected firsts until 2028.

“Technically, Miami would have to wait until June 30 to contact Beal and pull this off. But since this trade involves picks and would most likely be agreed to in wink-and-nudge fashion by draft night, we’re including it here.”

Beal appeared in just 40 games last season after undergoing surgery on his wrist in February. Before the season-ending injury, he averaged 23.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game.

It’s Not Entirely Clear if Beal Has Officially Opted Out of His Wizards Contract

Bradley Beal

GettyBradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards reacts after a play against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at Capital One Arena on January 19, 2022.

On Tuesday, June 21, HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto seemingly broke the news that Beal would not remain in Washington. Scotto tweeted “Beal will decline his $36.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season and become an unrestricted free agent this summer.”

Later that evening, Beal appeared to respond to Scotto’s report with confusion. The 28-year-old guard tweeted, “Wait huh? Lol.”

Earlier this month, Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, confronted Beal about his looming decision. “You could sign a five-year, $242 million deal if you stay with the Wizards,” Rooks states. “You go somewhere else, four-year $179 mill[ion], obviously big numbers but a difference. And that means you’re in a very rare position where you get to control what you do and where you go.”

“These are great problems, so you can’t really make a wrong decision,” Beal says. “I’m blessed to be here.” While he admits, “There is some anxiety, and time is counting down… it’s fun to be in the position.”

Rooks also noted how most people are assessing his choice as “Am I going to pick winning? Or am I going to pick money?” If Beal re-signs with the Wizards, he’ll own the biggest contract in NBA history, per Sportsnaut.com.

If he leaves to join a contender like the Heat, Beal’s chances of finally winning a Championship jump significantly. After coming within one game of making it to the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons, it seems Miami needs another offensive star to get them over that final hump.

Hughes wrote, “Assuming last year was an injury-related blip and that Bradley Beal has enough All-Star seasons ahead of him to justify bringing him aboard via a massive sign-and-trade, he’d give Miami a second high-volume offensive playmaker and scorer to ensure Jimmy Butler doesn’t have to keep doing so much on his own… More simply, the Heat hunt stars and Beal fits that description.”

Beal Reveals His Biggest Fear Is Not Giving Himself the Chance to Win

In an interview with The Athletic published in June 18, Beal said he made up his mind about his playing future, but declined to disclose his decision,” Josh Robbins reported. The former third overall pick from the 2012 NBA Draft has only played for one franchise his entire career, so leaving Washington is not a decision he would make lightly.

The 6-foot-4 guard told that even if he left the Wizards, there’s never any guarantee you’ll win a title. “Winning is hard. Obviously, you want to be in a position to be competing for a championship, but understanding how hard it is to win, puts a lot of things in perspective in terms of your future, where you wanna go, and who you wanna do it with.”

As for his biggest fear, “If I didn’t give myself a chance to win,” Beal says. While “regret” is too strong is of a word, “You don’t wanna look 20 years down the line and think, ‘Damn, I wish.'”

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