With the Miami Heat getting ready to add Jimmy Butler after agreeing to acquire him from the Philadelphia 76ers in a sign-and-trade deal, it appears that the team may be targeting another star player from an Eastern Conference rival — Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal.
In a Twitter post shared on Monday night, Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson cited an unnamed source “in contact with one of the teams,” who told him that the Heat have “engaged” the Wizards in negotiations for Beal, who is coming off a career-best season for Washington. While Jackson stressed that Miami “loves” Beal, he added that there are a few caveats that could stand in the way of a potential trade, starting with how the Wizards have supposedly told the star guard that they have no plans of trading him.
Secondly, Jackson added that it would be “highly challenging” for Miami to acquire Beal without going over their salary cap, especially if Washington includes starting point guard John Wall in the deal. Per The Washington Post, the “super-max” contract extension Wall signed in 2017 will take effect next season, though it remains likely that he will miss most, if not all of the 2019-20 season as he recovers from Achilles tendon surgery.
Hearing Goran Dragic also headed to Dallas Mavericks in trade, with Heat clearing up cap space for Jimmy Butler max.— OnSMASH (@OnSMASH) July 1, 2019
Miami also on the verge of acquiring Bradley Beal, per reports from earlier tonight.https://t.co/ziRmqkDqvj pic.twitter.com/FArN3zAf9U
As noted by Sporting News, Bradley Beal currently has two years left on the five-year, $128 million contract he signed in the summer of 2016. The 26-year-old two-time All-Star averaged a career-high 25.6 points, adding five rebounds and 5.5 assists per game and shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from beyond the arc in the 2018-19 season, where he played for a Wizards team that missed the playoffs with a 32-50 record.
If the Heat are able to land Beal, the former No. 3 overall draft pick will be joining a vastly different team from the one that finished with a 39-43 record in 2018-19 and also ended up missing out on postseason play. Per Sports Illustrated, starting center Hassan Whiteside will be moving to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the four-team deal that will send Jimmy Butler to the Heat. The team will also be sending wingman Josh Richardson — who is fresh off a breakout season in 2018-19 — to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Meanwhile, the Wizards have also been active in the first few days of free agency, having agreed on Monday to sign point guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year contract. Thomas, a two-time All-Star who will be playing for his fourth team in three seasons, is expected to receive quality playing time next season due to John Wall’s Achilles injury, as noted by CBS Sports.