Pat Riley has never been adverse to big name chasing during his prestigious career in the NBA and the Miami Heat Team President has another big name in his sights.
Like the other 28 teams in the league that do not have him under contract, the Miami Heat will be doing their due diligence to see if there is a way of acquiring Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets, in wake of his trade request.
It is a pretty rare occurrence for a player of the calibre of Durant to request a trade from their team in NBA history, meaning the KD sweepstakes were always going to draw the interest of a number of teams. More than two weeks have passed since the news broke that he wanted out of Brooklyn, but noise surrounding a potential trade has quietened down in the past few days.
It still remains to be seen what the Nets will do with the futures of Durant and his teammate Kyrie Irving, who is likely to have had an influence on the decision of his close friend. Irving will have been dissatisfied with the Nets’ unwillingness to offer him a long-term extension that ultimately led to him opting in to his $36.5 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
Irving’s decision is no indication that he wants to remain with the franchise — money was the clear motivating factor given the lack of interest in giving him max money in free agency from the rest of the league. Talks are reportedly ongoing between the Nets and Los Angeles Lakers over an Irving deal, which would likely be the first domino to fall before a Durant deal.
As you would expect, the Nets’ asking price is steep. The Rudy Gobert deal — which earned the Utah Jazz five first-round draft picks — will likely change the asking price of teams in multiple trades going forward. While Gobert is an elite defensive player, he is extremely limited offensively. Durant is one of the best offensive players in NBA history and in a league that values offense over defense, the haul is likely to be astronomical in comparison.
The Heat have been moved to the +225 favorites with MyBookie to be Durant’s next team if the Nets do decide to trade him. You can read our MyBookie review here. They were one of two teams alongside the Phoenix Suns on Durant’s preferred wishlist, although the latter have since moved to +500 after re-signing DeAndre Ayton.
Ayton’s extension means he can’t be traded until at least January and any deal with Phoenix almost certainly would’ve included the 23-year-old big man. Miami’s position as the betting favorite likely comes more from Durant’s preference over the assets they have.
It has been reported that Durant wants to join up with Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo in South Beach, but Adebayo would have to be the centrepiece of any deal alongside Tyler Herro. Other Miami role players such as Duncan Robinson, Omer Yurtseven, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Nikola Jovic could also be included.
Miami’s track record of being a routinely competent and competitive team in the NBA also works against them in their pursuit of Durant due to the perceived lack of value that their first round picks will hold in the future. Other NBA betting sites have also put Miami as the betting favorite for Durant, while the Toronto Raptors also follow closely at +275.
On paper, the Raptors have a more enticing package that they can compile with players such as OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr and Precious Achiuwa, although their ability to get a deal over the line could depend on their willingness to depart with Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes. Toronto are understandably reluctant to give up on Barnes at this early stage of his career, but it could be the key to partnering with Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet with the All-NBA talent that helps them compete for the title again.
Despite this, it still remains a distinct possibility that Durant, who remains under contract for the next four years, plays out this season in the Big Apple alongside Irving and Ben Simmons. It could well prove to be KD’s best opportunity to compete for a championship next season given that any team that does make a move for him would be forced to gutter their roster of significant talent to land him.
Find the full list of odds from MyBookie below for Durant’s next team next season if he is traded from the Nets.
Kevin Durant Next Team (If Traded From The Nets) Odds
- Miami Heat +225
- Toronto Raptors +275
- Phoenix Suns +500
- Memphis Grizzlies +800
- New Orleans Pelicans +900
- Golden State Warriors +900
- Philadelphia 76ers +1100
- Los Angeles Clippers +1600
- Los Angeles Lakers +1800
- New York Knicks +2500