Kevin Durant shocked the NBA world before the free agency period opened on Thursday afternoon when he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets, listing the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat as preferred destinations.
Let’s dive into the latest on the Heat’s pursuit of Durant.
Kevin Durant wants to play with Devin Booker, Jimmy Butler
Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill reported that Kevin Durant’s primary motivation is to play alongside Suns guard Devin Booker or Heat forward Jimmy Butler.
While Durant would likely want to play alongside Butler and Bam Adebayo for the Miami Heat, the report that he wants to play with Butler specifically should not be a surprise.
Butler was arguably one of the best players in the entire NBA Playoffs as he single-handedly led Miami to the Eastern Conference finals.
Also, playing alongside Booker can be desirable as he is one of the NBA’s best young guards and has been a consistent, drama-free player throughout his career.
Booker is not eligible to be traded to Brooklyn while Butler could be involved, but it is not going to happen. It’s likely to see Adebayo as the main piece if push comes to shove with the organization.
It would not be surprising to see the Nets accommodate Durant’s request after the way he has led the organization and showed first-class tendencies while handling the drama.
If so, the Suns and Heat are firmly in the race for arguably the best pure scorer the league has ever seen.
Evaluating potential Kevin Durant trade packages
Pat Riley is all in on Kevin Durant. This is the moment the Miami Heat has been waiting to see for years. Not just a star, a superstar with Miami as one of his preferred destinations.
The Heat is going to do everything possible to land their whale. So, what are some trade packages that might make sense for the 33-year-old forward?
Miami should look to avoid including Bam Adebayo until it is absolutely necessary. Then, if Brooklyn states it’s Adebayo or no deal, the work on a three-team deal to send Ben Simmons elsewhere begins.
First, the Heat should start off with Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Omer Yurtseven, and multiple first-round picks including pick swaps.
This is unlikely to get a deal complete, but the Heat and Suns could hold the leverage card. Who says Durant wants to go to another organization that’s not on the level of these two?
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If Brooklyn sends Durant elsewhere where he does not approve, it will be easy for him to decline the opportunity and further push away from his new organization.
If the Heat need to include Adebayo, replace Lowry with him in the offer above, send Ben Simmons to a third team, and that’s the offer. It’s a simple package that Miami should be willing to make easily.
As stated above, it doesn’t make sense why a middle-of-the-road or small-market team guts the roster for Durant with the inevitably of him bolting at some point in time.
This should help as the organizations in the running are dwindled down even more. The value might wane a little bit unless it turns into a bidding war between Phoenix and Miami.
However, don’t expect this situation to be resolved soon as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Durant’s trade request from Brooklyn will last a few days before a decision is made.
This likely means the free agency process and any other trades are frozen. The whole league is waiting on the Nets and where Durant eventually ends up.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Miami Heat’s pursuit of Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant.