At 47-25, the Miami Heat are inching closer toward their first one-seed since 2012-13. But that’s not stopping them from reportedly targeting one of the NBA’s top scorers this summer.
Miami could be the next home for Bradley Beal, a three-time All-Star on the Washington Wizards. Beal, 28, would give the Heat another elite player to join veteran stars Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry. However, it would drastically alter Miami’s strong supporting cast, headlined by Sixth Man of the Year favorite Tyler Herro.
Should team president Pat Riley go all-in to acquire Beal, it would certainly spell the end of Herro’s time in South Beach and possibly his run as a future All-Star.
The Miami Heat are viewed as a possible destination for Bradley Beal
Beal has spent all 10 of his professional seasons with the Wizards. But for the first time, he might have the chance to leave D.C. in pursuit of greener (or sunnier) pastures.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard can opt out of his current deal and become an unrestricted free agent this summer. That would mean forgoing a 2022-23 salary of $36.4 million or a five-year, $245.6 million contract extension in pursuit of a four-year max deal worth $182.1 million from another team.
“The Heat are seen as a legitimate suitor for Beal should he elect to seek a new home, multiple sources said,” Charania wrote in his latest update. “Overall, teams will continue to keep an eye on the Heat as a legitimate threat to add talent in the years to come.”
Beal has averaged 22.1 points for his career but crossed over 30 in each of the two previous seasons. However, his current campaign was cut short after 40 games due to a wrist injury that required season-ending surgery.
Beal joining the Heat spells trouble for Tyler Herro
A big reason why Miami currently leads the East is because of Herro’s ascension. The 22-year-old is averaging a career-high 20.9 points on 44.4% shooting from the field and 39.1% shooting from three. At this rate, the youngster seems like a mortal lock to win the Sixth Man of the Year award and possibly Most Improved Player.
Yet everything will change if Beal arrives, and not for the better.
The Heat currently have $113.1 million slated to go toward Butler, Adebayo, Lowry, and Duncan Robinson next year alone. Add in Beal’s estimated $42.3 million hit, and Miami clearly has some serious work to do.
The only way Miami can land the three-time All-Star is through a sign-and-trade; one that would certainly have to include Herro. Not only is he Miami’s top young player and someone the Wizards would want to build around, but adding Beal makes it impossible to also sign Herro to a rookie max extension of $184 million over five years beginning in 2023-24.
There are certainly some positives to Herro joining the Wizards, most notably how he’ll go from the first man off the bench to a featured role in the starting lineup. But there is tremendous risk involved with going from a contending team with many other stars to being the guy defenses focus on.
Basically, there’s a big difference going from Butler and Bam to Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis.
By becoming the focal point of the Wizards, Herro could see an uptick in overall scoring. But chances are he’ll also struggle with efficiency in the process. Not to mention, he won’t be on a team ready to contend for a title anytime soon.
Miami would be better off keeping Herro
If given the choice between Beal or Herro, most NBA teams and fans would go with the more-proven veteran. However, Miami should think twice before moving on from the 2019 first-round pick.
The Heat are in win-now mode, so they’re understandably assessing all ways to place themselves at the top of the league. But at some point, you have to consider the future. Beal will be 29 at the start of next season and moving another year closer to the end of his peak. Meanwhile, Herro is only on the rise and will give you quality scoring for less money than what Beal’s max is worth.
It more-or-less boils down to this for Riley and the Heat: Beal from ages 29-32 at $182.1 million or Herro from ages 22-27 at $189.7 million. The latter is younger, around for two more years, and costing much less per season.
Is there a chance Herro’s ceiling doesn’t reach Beal’s? Absolutely. But the last three years have shown how coach Erik Spoelstra is able to utilize the Wisconsin native and put him in a position to succeed. That success isn’t something that can be easily replicated, especially for a rebuilding club in Washington.
The best thing for Herro is to stay with one of the best-run organizations in sports, let alone the NBA. And the best thing for the Heat is to commit to their young star and avoid mortgaging their promising future with a short-sighted acquisition.