The Miami Heat’s reported interest in soon-to-be free agent Kevin Durant makes a ton of sense for numerous reasons.
First off, the team needs to add another upper-echelon player to its existing roster in order to contend for a championship. That much was made clear during Miami’s series loss to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Now take into account the fact that Chris Bosh may be forced into early retirement, and there’s even more reason for the Heat to go after one of the top free agents this summer.
With both Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside set to become free agents, this is magnified even further.
Despite this interest in Durant, the Heat are reportedly indicating privately that signing the former MVP is a long shot.
“Though the Heat fully intends to make a run at Kevin Durant in July, it privately knows that Durant signing with Miami this summer is a longshot,” the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson reported. “That made it easier for Riley to say that Whiteside is the priority this summer.”
Miami is expected to be vying for Durant’s services with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards and Thunder, among many other teams.
Set to receive a max deal, Durant’s decision will likely come down to two factors. Location and the ability to compete for a title.
It had previously been reported that he’s interested in joining the defending champion Warriors. Though, there’s no indication one way or another that they are interested in changing up their roster midstream.
Heat president Pat Riley said earlier this month that re-signing Whiteside is the team’s top priority. That threw some for a loop, especially considering Wade is also set to become a free agent.
Depending on the entire Bosh situation and how it plays out, the Heat could very well be on the hook for north $23 million for a player that won’t be suiting up.
The team could then file for an exemption to get Bosh’s contract off the books while allowing him to still collect the money. Unfortunately, that possibility wouldn’t come until the summer of 2017.
If that’s the case, Miami’s opportunity to make a big splash in free agency won’t come until after the 2016-17 season.