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Bradley Beal Wanted To Join The Heat But Miami Told Him They ‘Can’t Do It’

When Bradley Beal hit the trade market this summer, the Miami Heat were his first choice and, for many, were the expected landing spot for the former All-Star guard — given he has a no-trade clause in his contract, he could dictate even more than most stars where he ended up going.

Instead, the Phoenix Suns swooped in and traded Chris Paul to Washington for Beal — with Paul ultimately ending up in Golden State in a trade to bring Jordan Poole to the Wizards. It was a rather surprising trade, with Phoenix going all-in on a new star trio, and as Beal explained recently, the Suns emerging as the No. 1 destination caught him by surprise as well. In the first installment of a diary he’s doing this season for Andscape with Marc Spears, Beal explained how he had an “eye-opening” experience after getting told by the Heat they “can’t do it” in regards to trading for him, and how the Suns emerged as the favorite just by pursuing him so aggressively.

So, my initial favorite was Miami. And so, we call Miami. [Miami president] Pat [Riley] says well I’ll go talk to [owner] Micky [Arison] and figure it out. So he goes, talks to Micky, we go, we hear back [New York] Knicks, Sacramento, Brooklyn a little bit, and then it was Milwaukee and it was one more big team … And that was kind of one of the most difficult things about every trade and every team. And I respect and love every team, but a lot of them just couldn’t do it because the money was just so high.

And with our new CBA [collective bargaining agreement] and the luxury tax, a lot of owners just was like, ‘We don’t want to get hit over the head with that.’ And that’s a respectable decision. If I was the ownership and I’m pouring in billions of dollars, I want to make sure we’re getting a championship out of it too. So, out of nowhere I get a call and it’s Mat Ishbia in Phoenix. I’m like, ‘Y’all about to trade Book? How is that going to happen? How is that going to work?’ That didn’t even cross my mind of going to Phoenix. And sure enough, they just kept pressing and pressing and I’m nudging my agent.

I’m like, ‘OK, what’s Miami doing? Dragging feet.’ And eventually it came to a point to where Miami said they just can’t do it. But it was an eye-opener for sure. And that’s why I said I went into everything kind of open-minded and with an open slate. And out of nowhere here comes a dark horse in Phoenix and their aggressiveness pushed me over the top. Milwaukee was very close in the running as well, but they were going to make some moves that I didn’t necessarily like in the trade, too. So, I guess that’s the beauty of having a no-trade clause. You get to have a little bit of say-so in the deal. But in the end, man, it ultimately just felt like Phoenix picked me.

It’s interesting hearing that he wasn’t sold on Milwaukee’s plan to get him, and one wonders if that was going to involve trading Holiday as well or if it was a different move that would’ve brought Beal to the Bucks. It’s also fair to wonder if Miami didn’t want to trade for Beal because they still had eyes on Lillard (who had yet to formally issue his trade request), who ultimately ended up in Milwaukee in part because Beal decided Phoenix was going to be a better situation. Beal also notes that he wasn’t sure how the Suns were going to make a trade for him work without moving Booker, but once he learned they could make it happen he was in.

The domino effect of the guard trade market this summer is absolutely fascinating, and I’m sure in hindsight Heat fans would probably like the organization to go back and make a Beal deal happen. Instead, he’s now in Phoenix where he, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant have eyes on a championship, but have plenty of work to do to get on the same page and reach their full potential.