The Miami Heat and Pat Riley have been known to pursue “whales” in the past before moving to “orcas.” However, the possibility of two disgruntled superstars moving – Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, could bring them back to whale hunting.
Does it seem realistic? Let’s dive into the cases to bring Durant or Irving to the Heat.
Kevin Durant’s case to join the Miami Heat
Kevin Durant has connections with current Miami Heat players, including Jimmy Butler. However, Durant’s praise of big man Bam Adebayo might be the most notable of his feelings regarding the talent in Miami.
Durant has been on record praising Adebayo, certainly sounding like someone he would like to play with.
“Bam Adebayo stood out to me the most. I had high expectations for him…he worked on his game tirelessly…he’s focused, his work ethic stood out. Being in Miami, playing for some vets like D-Wade and UD, you can tell they led by example. They led well out there. (Adebayo) picked up some good traits from some good vets.”Kevin Durant on a podcast in 2021
That is certainly high praise from one of the greatest pure scorers in NBA history. It’s also a beautiful fit next to Adebayo if Miami could find a way to keep him in a possible deal.
This is not the first time the Heat would be connected to Durant if the Brooklyn Nets’ nightmare scenario becomes reality. Durant took a free-agent visit with Miami when deciding whether to leave Oklahoma City in 2016.
While it didn’t turn into anything substantial as Durant took his talents to Golden State, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra left the meeting very impressed and claims to be a big fan of the superstar.
If Durant doesn’t like the return of a potential Irving trade, it opens the door for him to label a team that he wants to play on in the future. Would the Nets be persuaded to accommodate his request? It remains to be seen.
If the Nets are going to simply take the best trade package, it might not be enough for Miami. The organization should offer the best possible offer because it would be worth it.
However, Durant would be an amazing fit in the “Heat Culture” where work ethic and basketball-minded efforts are the top priorities. The drama can be left at the door on the way into the arena.
It could be refreshing for Durant to experience it after his previous situations with Irving and even Draymond Green. But, is it a realistic opportunity for the Heat?
Never say never in the NBA. It’s going to take a disastrous next week or two for Brooklyn if Durant is on the move. If it comes to fruition, the Miami Heat will absolutely be in on a possible deal with the Nets.
Kyrie Irving’s case to join the Miami Heat
Put the off-court drama side. If you want to talk about perfect basketball fits, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo is everything the Miami Heat could want in a trio.
Irving might also feel the same way, given the Heat were on the list of teams that he would like to be traded to if things don’t work out in Brooklyn. It’s not the first time Miami is on his radar.
The Heat were on Irving’s list of preferred destinations when he requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017. What was also going on during that same year?
Jimmy Butler made the proclamation about the one NBA player he would want to team up with in the future.
“I’d probably have to go with my favorite player who is not myself and that’s Kyrie (Irving). I love Kyrie’s game, man, and he’s a really good dude. I like Kyrie.”Jimmy Butler on First Take in 2017
This would not be the last time both Butler and Irving were connected to each other. A report came out in 2018 that stated Butler and Irving wanted to find a way to team up with each other.
It is very obvious the two players have built a friendship and it’s not surprising to see the Heat on Irving’s wish list with Butler being a cornerstone of the organization.
While others might say it’s a bad fit because Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra have built a strict culture, the idea of Irving joining the organization might be something that changes his career.
The 30-year-old superstar is similar to another current Miami Heat star who was looking to find a home. Ironically, Butler bounced from Chicago to Minnesota to Philadelphia and didn’t bring the drama with him.
The infamous practice with the Timberwolves, the conflict with Karl-Anthony Towns, and the effect on Ben Simmons are all a part of Butler’s past. This is not new for Miami.
Butler found a home with the Heat and Irving is still looking for a home. Cleveland to Boston to Brooklyn and like Butler, the drama has followed Irving everywhere.
If Irving requests a trade to the Heat, there’s no reason that can’t be a similar situation to Butler. They are not exact circumstances, but playing under Riley and Spoelstra is different than other teams.
It would come at the expense of Kyle Lowry, who just joined the organization last summer. However, sometimes it is a cut-throat business and the Heat need to give Butler the best opportunity to win a championship.
Butler, Adebayo, and Lowry can certainly win a championship when fully healthy as they were one game and four points away from making the NBA Finals last season.
However, replace Lowry with Irving and the Heat have a No. 1 scoring option and one of the best pure scoring point guards the NBA has seen in its history.
Durant is not as realistic as other big names, but Irving makes so much sense from a basketball standpoint. The organization would also be able to handle Irving’s personality.
Arguably, the Heat are Irving’s best possible fit out of every team in the NBA. If Irving realizes that in the coming days, a new era of Miami Heat basketball could be coming soon.