Latest on Miami Heat involvement in Kevin Durant draft

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks to pass the ball as Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, March 3, 2022 in New York City.

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) looks to pass the ball as Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, March 3, 2022 in New York City.

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While the Miami Heat remain interested in Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets have shown little interest in the Heat’s bid for the high-scoring superstar and Miami is pursuing their current roster for next season, according to people briefed on the situation. .

Although the Nets have an interest in Bam Adebayo in a Durant trade, the Heat have not included Adebayo in offers for Durant and seem reluctant to do so.

It should be noted that Adebayo is currently ineligible to be included in a trade with the Nets due to NBA salary cap rules, unless the Nets trade Ben Simmons to the Heat or another team. . This is because of the Designated Rookie expansion rule: a team cannot have two players acquired through trade who have been signed to this type of expansion like Adebayo and Simmons.

Durant, who turns 34 in September, requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets nearly four weeks ago and reportedly listed the Heat and Phoenix Suns as his favorite trade destinations. Miami’s front office had conversations with Brooklyn executives about a potential deal for Durant, but the Heat and other teams were unable to meet the Nets’ historic asking price.

Many in the league believe Durant’s draw will drag on — perhaps into training camp or even the regular season — as Brooklyn waits for the massive comeback it seeks and other teams wait for the Nets potentially reduce their asking price.

According to a source, the Heat could revisit a potential trade for Durant if he becomes a more realistic option down the road, but aren’t in a holding pattern pending clarity from the Nets.

Without including Jimmy Butler or Adebayo, any Heat offer for Durant would have to be headlined by 22-year-old Tyler Herro, who was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year last season. Barring a change of heart, Miami is expected not to budge on its stance of keeping Adebayo and Butler off limits.

Then there’s the draft compensation the Heat should include in a deal for Durant.

The Heat are currently eligible to include two unprotected first-round picks in a trade offer and could unlock a third unprotected first-round pick to offer Brooklyn if they can negotiate to lift lottery protections on the first-round pick. round of 2025 he owes to Oklahoma. City thunder.

In this scenario, the Heat could also include up to three pick trades in their trade offer to the Nets, which would give Brooklyn the chance to walk away with the best draft position between the two teams in each of those respective years. .

But that’s apparently not enough to meet the Nets’ asking price for Durant. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Nets recently rejected an offer from the Celtics that included Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick, Brooklyn asking for more from Boston.

As for Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, the New York Knicks are widely considered the favorites to acquire him in a trade in part because they have up to eight first-round picks available to include in a deal. The Heat don’t have that kind of project capital, which the Jazz would covet.

All of this means that the Heat’s roster for next season will most likely resemble last season’s which finished just one win before reaching the NBA Finals. Miami has re-signed three center Dewayne Dedmon, forward Caleb Martin and guard Victor Oladipo in free agency and has yet to make an outside free agent addition this summer.

Twelve of the 13 players currently signed by the Heat with standard contracts for this upcoming season were also on the end-of-season roster. If forward Udonis Haslem decides to return for a 20th NBA season, as expected, the Heat’s roster would include 13 returning players.

If Haslem re-signs, the Heat would exceed the luxury tax if they sign a 15th player on a standard contract, unless they release Haywood Highsmith or trade their salary. The Heat haven’t ruled out entering luxury tax territory but prefer to stay under the tax for now unless they acquire an elite player.

With PJ Tucker leaving for Philadelphia, the Heat are comfortable with Caleb Martin playing power forward, where he recorded just 22% of his minutes last season, and would be happy to enter next season with this list. But Miami could explore a trade for an established power forward if a particularly attractive forward becomes available.

This story was originally published July 26, 2022 5:55 p.m.

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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