The Miami Heat have frequently been mentioned as a possible destination for Kevin Durant on the trade market, both because of his reported interest in playing there and because of their historic ability to find ways of adding superstars. A package built around Bam Adebayo was a sensible option for both sides from the moment Durant became available.
One problem quickly presented itself: Adebayo cannot be traded to the Brooklyn Nets so long as Ben Simmons remains on the team. Both of them are on designated rookie contract extensions, and teams are not allowed to have multiple such contracts on their books unless they drafted one of them. This would have been an avoidable obstacle if the Heat and Nets were dedicated enough. The Nets could have taken Adebayo if they’d traded Simmons elsewhere, or they could have made the Heat re-route Adebayo to a third team for more assets they could take.
But all of this requires the Heat to actually offer Adebayo, and according to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, they are ‘disinclined’ to do so. Whether or not that means an outright unwillingness or merely a desire not to is unclear, but without including Adebayo, the Heat simply lack the resources to trade for Durant.
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Without Adebayo, Miami’s offer would need to be built around Tyler Herro. Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry would be likely salary matching options. Miami could offer as many as three first-round picks and three swaps, though doing so would mean removing all of the protections on the 2025 pick they currently owe Oklahoma City. That’s an interesting trade package for almost any player in the league, but it simply isn’t enough for someone of Durant’s caliber.
Reports early in the process indicated that Durant only wanted to play for the Heat if he could do so with Lowry, Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. It seems as though the Heat share his vision, but if they aren’t willing to give the Nets a fair trade package back, they aren’t going to be able to get Durant at all.