Durant wants to join a team that is ready to compete
As the Brooklyn Nets attempt to trade Kevin Durant for something resembling fair value, they not only need to contend with the teams they are negotiating with, but Durant himself. He has offered two teams, the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns, as preferred destinations. Here’s where things get complicated: Durant reportedly only wants to go to the Heat if most of their team is kept intact.
According to The Athletic, Durant would only want to play for the Heat if he could do so alongside Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry. Considering what little assets Miami would have to offer Brooklyn aside from those three, a Heat trade now appears somewhat unlikely.
We can safely say that Butler was never on the table. Lowry is valuable to a contender only. So if Adebayo isn’t available either, what could Miami offer? The package would be built around Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson as salary ballast. The Heat could offer No. 27 overall pick Nikola Jovic along with three future first-rounders and three first-round pick swaps. That’s a huge offer for almost anybody, but it’s not going to be enough to land Durant.
Here’s another complication: Even if the Heat and Durant were open to a deal involving Adebayo, he legally can’t be traded to the Nets right now. Teams are not allowed to have multiple players on designated rookie extensions that were acquired via trade, and the Nets already have Ben Simmons on such a contract. Overall, this puts the Heat at a significant disadvantage in the Durant sweepstakes.
The Suns would have to give up quite a bit to get Durant as well, but if they could do so without sacrificing Devin Booker or Chris Paul, they’d likely still have enough to entice the former MVP. If Durant truly wants Phoenix above all other destinations, this sort of leak makes sense. If he could discourage the Heat, one of the primary threats to the Suns would be off of the board. For now, we’re so early in the process that saying anything definitively would be foolish.