Barry Jackson

Where Heat stands with Washington guard Bradley Beal, one of Miami’s expected 2021 targets

A six-pack of Heat notes on a Wednesday:

Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal, a top Heat target as 2021 free agency approaches, hasn’t decided whether to accept Washington’s three-year, $111 million extension or what his long-term future holds, an associate said this week.

Agent Mark Bartelstein (who is not the aforementioned associate) said Wednesday there is “nothing new” regarding whether Beal has made a decision.

But if Beal decides to move on from Washington and become a free agent in 2021, the associate — who requested anonymity because he’s not authorized to speak on Beal’s behalf — said he expects the Heat to receive serious consideration.

The associate would not call the Heat or any specific team the favorite if Beal decides to leave Washington, noting other teams also would be considered.

And Beal, 26, will continue to give thought to signing long-term with the Wizards because, as the associate said, he’s loyal by nature, appreciates Washington not only for drafting him but also treating him respectfully and soliciting his opinion throughout this offseason.

The Wizards, at this point, have been given no reason to believe he wants to go elsewhere. And they likely won’t trade him unless they are given that indication.

What we know for sure is the Heat loves Beal and hopes to land him either before 2021 free agency or during. We also know that for whatever reason, Jimmy Butler followed Beal recently on social media.

We know that former NFL receiver and Heat fan Chad OchoCinco tweeted last week that he intended to dine with Beal and try to sell the merits of the Heat. We also know that Beal was, and remains, a big Dwyane Wade fan. We know Beal — who grew up in Missouri — has Florida ties, having attended the University of Florida.

But so much of this story needs to play out, including whether Beal loses interest in staying with Washington — something that can’t yet be determined.

The Heat would be in position to potentially pounce if Beal decides not to sign an extension with Washington and if the Wizards struggle badly enough next season to motivate Washington to make significant changes.

As we’ve reported, there is sentiment inside the Heat to take on the final four years and $171 million of John Wall’s contract in a trade in order to land Beal, but Washington has not been amenable to that, and there are cap challenges of such a deal, as we explain here.

In the meantime, Heat fans continue to post Heat love letter-type comments under virtually all of Beal’s tweets.

NBA journalist Tommy Beer recently tweeted the teams with the best records over the past 20 years, and the Heat - despite average results in the post-LeBron era - remains in top five.

Here are those rankings, by win percentage, for the past five years: 1. Spurs: 1,135-489 (.699 winning percentage), 2. Mavs: 958-656 (.596), 3. Rockets: 928-696 (.571), 4. Heat: 898-726 (.553), 5. Lakers: 893-731 (.550), 6. Thunder/Sonics: 887-737 (.546), 7. Celtics: 886-737 (.546), 8. Jazz: 884-740 (.544).

Former Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox, now doing work for NBA TV, listed six players he believes could be traded now, this upcoming season or in the future: Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, Beal, Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Andrew Wiggins, Memphis Grizzlies small forward Andre Iguodala and Suns guard Devin Booker.

Of those six, would any make sense for Miami beyond Beal, who will continue to be Heat target?

Paul is a no-go unless OKC gives Miami back its two first-round picks that the Thunder owns, and the Thunder hasn’t been willing to do that.

Though Wiggins has been linked to the Heat at times, he’s due $27 million, $29 million, $31 million and $34 million during the next four seasons, which the Heat simply cannot afford when it wants to leave max room for a max player. Plus, there’s the issue of whether it would be wise to reunite him with Jimmy Butler.

Booker is earning between $29 million and $36 million each of the next five years, so the comment about Wiggins holds true with Booker, too. Perhaps he becomes a trade option if the Heat strikes out in 2021 free agency, depending on Tyler Herro’s growth.

Iguodola obviously makes more sense for a championship contender. Love would make no sense at all because he’s diminished, injury prone, and most importantly, earning between $29 million and $31 million each of the next four seasons.

Wilcox put Booker and Wiggins in the “future” category.

“Of these six names, Chris Paul and Iguodala, we know that they’re in the trade market and they’re available,” Wilcox said. “Of these other four names, we can probably take Wiggins and Booker into the future.”

Heat second-round pick KZ Okpala said he would be open to spending part of his rookie season in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce if he’s not getting consistent NBA playing time.

“I trust the staff and whatever they say is best,” Okpala told colleague Anthony Chiang on Monday at the Heat’s back-to-school event. “I believe in that and will go into it with a good foot forward.”

Josh Richardson, who was the Heat’s second-round pick in 2015, played four G League games with the Skyforce as a rookie. He also played in 52 regular-season games for the Heat that season.

Herro, who was selected by the Heat with the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft, was voted as the best rookie shooter as part of the annual NBA Rookie Survey.

Among the 42 rookies polled, Herro received 33 percent of the votes. Sacramento’s Kyle Guy finished second with 29 percent of the votes and Phoenix’s Cameron Johnson was third with 13 percent of the votes.

Herro and Okpala did not receive votes in any of the other categories in the survey.

Former Arkansas Little Rock guard Rayjon Tucker, who auditioned for the Heat earlier this month, signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Milwaukee Bucks over a similar offer from Miami.... Former Texas Tech guard Matt Mooney, who averaged 9.3 points for Atlanta in Summer League, signed an Exhibit 10 deal (that comes with a training camp invitation and $50,000 guarantee) with Memphis over what was reportedly a similar off from Miami. Both of those players were interested in two-way deals with Miami, but the Heat is holding off on giving them out, opting at this point to have training camp invites battle for one or both of those two-way contracts.

  Comments