NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Bradley Beal, Tyler Herro, Heat's Harden Price

Martin FennFeatured Columnist IJanuary 17, 2021

NBA Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Bradley Beal, Tyler Herro, Heat's Harden Price

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Brooklyn Nets had the last word in the James Harden sweepstakes. Will Bradley Beal be the next superstar on the market?

    Beal is off to a tremendous start this season, averaging a league-high 34.9 points to go along with 5.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists through his first 10 games. The 27-year-old is also shooting over 37 percent from deep. Despite Beal's excellence, however, the Washington Wizards have struggled to follow suit.

    Washington is 3-8 to start the season. The Wizards rank first in scoring but as of Saturday ranked just 27th in defensive rating. Russell Westbrook was shooting under 38 percent from the field through his first seven games and had also been dealing with a quad injury. Meanwhile, the Wizards also lost a key rotation player in Thomas Bryant after the young center suffered a torn ACL.

    It could be a tough slog for the Wizards going forward, both this year and in the future. Beal has suggested he wants to stay in Washington, but the Wizards could look to cash in on his value if the losing continues.

    Here is the latest buzz on Beal, in addition to the Miami Heat's reluctance to give up young assets in exchange for Harden and a Western Conference team expected to have interest in acquiring P.J. Tucker.

Heat, Others Hoping Beal's Price Tag Lower Than Harden's

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Miami Heat did not pull the trigger on a deal for Harden, but might they pay the steep price in order to acquire Beal?

    Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that the Heat have a "high" level of interest in Beal. The question will be whether it is enough relative to that of other contenders and just how much the Wizards demand for their star combo guard.

    Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported teams around the league are hoping Beal will become available at a "slightly cheaper" price than Harden. However, Washington deciding to deal Beal would signal a full-on rebuild, and the Wizards might not be willing to cede value in negotiations with Beal still under contract through next season.

    Plus, Beal could well continue to increase his trade value. The St. Louis native had a torrid three-game run before COVID-19 issues put a temporary halt on Washington's season. He scored a career-high 60 points against the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 6. Beal then poured in 41 points against the Boston Celtics on Jan. 8, and torched the Phoenix Suns for 34 in a near triple-double on Jan. 11.

    He is becoming one of the transcendent scorers in the NBA. Beal can score at all three levels and create off the bounce going in either direction. The Wizards have an offensive rating of 118.4 when he is on the floor. That number falls to just 105.8 when he sits.

    As promising as Tyler Herro has looked early in his career, the Heat could use an elite three-level scorer to complement Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo as they look to keep pace with the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.

    However, Miami might well have to part with multiple youngsters in order to consummate a Beal deal, something the Heat were unwilling to do in talks for Harden.

Miami Reluctant to Pair Young Assets in a Trade

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    The Brooklyn Nets mortgaged their future on James Harden, mostly in the form of draft picks and pick swaps. Had the Heat completed a deal, they would have sacrificed their future in the form of talent.

    Barry Jackson reported that the Houston Rockets wanted Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Heat rookie Precious Achiuwa packaged together in addition to draft compensation. Talks between Miami and Houston fell apart when the Heat refused to include the three youngsters.

    Herro has continued to improve upon his breakout success during last season's NBA restart in Orlando, Florida. He came into Saturday's game against the Detroit Pistons averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Herro's turnovers are up (2.8 per game), and he has struggled to find his perimeter jumper (30.2 percent from deep), but his scoring ability and playmaking have been on display.

    Robinson has been steadily proving he is for real as a sniper. The undrafted 2-guard is shooting 40.7 percent from deep on 8.6 attempts per game. He remains as good as anyone in the league with respect to his catch-and-shoot ability, which is vital in the modern game.

    The Heat used their first-round selection on Achiuwa in the fall, and he recently showed flashes with consecutive double-double performances against the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Jackson reported that the Heat would likely rebuff the Wizards if their asking price for Beal was similar to Houston's for Harden. Just how much is Miami willing to give? It remains to be seen, though team president Pat Riley would likely prefer to keep at least one or two of these three youngsters.

Timberwolves Showing Interest in P.J. Tucker

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    With Harden gone, it is possible the Rockets will sift through offers for veteran forward P.J. Tucker.

    The 35-year-old had been in extension talks with Houston, but that was when the Rockets still believed they were building around Harden and John Wall. Now the Rockets could look to move Tucker, who is in the final year of his contract.

    Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported "multiple teams" have expressed interest in Tucker. The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of those teams, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

    Krawczynski reported the Timberwolves had been "monitoring" Tucker's situation in Houston since before the draft, adding that Minnesota is expected to "re-engage" the Rockets in talks for Tucker.

    Acquiring Tucker makes sense for Minnesota, at least in terms of filling a positional hole. The Timberwolves have been shallow at the power forward spot, and Tucker would complement Karl-Anthony Towns well with his defensive toughness and ability to space the floor and shoot the three on the other end.

    But the T-Wolves will have to decide how much they are willing to give for Tucker, especially if he is not going to be part of the team going forward. Minnesota is 3-8 and appear set to be hard-pressed to make a playoff push. That mission got even tougher with Towns testing positive for COVID-19. 

    Regardless, Tucker would be an upgrade in the frontcourt, and the Timberwolves figure to—at the very least—make inquiries as to his availability.   

                    

    All stats obtained via Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.

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