NBA Rumors: Bradley Beal’s First Choice Was The Miami Heat

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There will be a new “Big 3” debuting in the NBA this coming season. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker will be joined on the Phoenix Suns roster by Bradley Beal, who was acquired via trade over the summer. It makes Phoenix one of the favorites in the Western Conference, and they have aspirations of an NBA Finals appearance next June. But the team would have looked far different if Beal had had it his way.

NBA Rumors: Bradley Beal Preferred To Play For The Heat

The Suns have been contenders in the Western Conference ever since Chris Paul arrived in 2020. The acquisition of Durant mid-way through last season was supposed to put Phoenix over the top, but they ran in to Nikola Jokić and the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets in the playoffs. Improvements needed to be made, and the futures of both Paul and often-criticized center DeAndre Ayton were in question.

They were both shipped off. Ayton was traded later in the off-season in the Damian Lillard deal, bringing the Suns a handful of solid rotation pieces. But the big acquisition came out of the Chris Paul trade, when Beal was dealt by the Wizards after spending the first 11 years of his career in Washington. The move instantly moved Phoenix up the board when it came to NBA Finals odds, as the team would now have three of the more feared scorers in the league on one roster.

Beal Speaks Up In “Diary” Installment

The Suns weren’t Beal’s first choice, though. The player himself said so in a diary installment on Andscape, via Marc J Spears:

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.

The Heat, as they always are, were on the search for another star during the offseason to pair with Jimmy Butler. They were linked to rumors involving multiple big names, but things fell through with the likes of Damian Lillard and apparently Beal as well.

As Beal says, it was likely the contractual obligations that scared the Heat and other teams away. Beal has one of the more expensive deals in the league, and it would be difficult for a team with an already-high payroll to be able to take him on. It is also unclear what the Heat would have given up in exchange, as Pat Riley has said that Tyler Herro was never actually involved in any trade talks.

The Suns currently hold a +650 designation when it comes to NBA Championship odds, while the Heat are sitting at +2500.

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