Nets star Kevin Durant created free agency pandemonium by suddenly announcing he wanted a trade out of Brooklyn on Thursday, June 30. It was just last summer that the 12-time All-Star signed a four-year $194 million contract extension with the Nets, which was set to kick in during the 2022-23 NBA season.
Immediately afterward, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that the Miami Heat is one of the top destinations on the 33-year-old power forward’s “wish list,” as are the Phoenix Suns.
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Wojnarowski noted that there was “no shortage of teams willing to unload assets for Durant,” which created a strong feeling that a blockbuster deal would happen imminently. However, nearly a week has passed since Durant’s business manager, Rich Kleinman, confirmed he requested a trade, and things have remained stagnant.
During an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday, July 5, The Athletic’s Shams Charania addressed the timeline regarding a possible trade deal for Durant, specifically mentioning the Heat as being suitors still in the mix.
While discussing the delay in getting a trade done, the NBA Insider also makes it clear that Durant’s “stance has not changed” on wanting out of Brooklyn, he tells McAfee. “There’s been no signal that he’s going to back off of that – if anything, that stance is expected to continue throughout this offseason.”
“We’ll see how this summer goes. One thing to keep in mind with these superstar trades,” Charania warns, “You think about Kyrie Irving when he got traded to the Celtics in 2017… You think about when Kawhi Leonard gets traded to Toronto, you think about Anthony Davis getting traded to the Lakers, all three of those trades took two/three months to get done.”
“Even the Rudy Gobert trade, when he got moved after the season ended to now, took about two to three months. So, this process with Kevin Durant could take a while.”
The Nets Are ‘Making Moves’ Assuming Both Durant & Kyrie Irving Will At Least Start the Season in Brooklyn
According to Charania, the Nets are moving forward as if both Durant and Kyrie Irving, who’s also rumored to be on the move, will at least start the season in Brooklyn.
“But on the other hand, the Nets, they picked up T.J. Warren today,” Charania says to McAfee. “They’re making moves, and they’re doing things this offseason with – in their mind – the preparation and operation as if they’re bringing these two guys back next season and playing with these two guys.
“Now, I think they’re open in dialogue, and they’re open to teams like Toronto, Phoenix, Miami making offers, but until they get that price threshold met, which I’m told is All-Star type players, a boatload of draft picks, they’re not going to move. This is what they’re telling teams.”
While Durant’s reported requirements for a Heat trade may put Miami out of the running, it’s ultimately the Nets who decide his fate. However, time and patience may turn out to be a benefit for the Heat if the drama in Brooklyn continues to get worse.
As it stands, “it appears the market is sluggish to develop as teams reevaluate their rosters after the draft and the early stages of free agency,” Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels noted on Tuesday. “The action should pick up as training camp moves closer, though.”
Heat President Pat Riley Is Not Afraid to ‘Make a Major Splash’
NBA analyst Shannon Sharpe predicted Heat president Pat Riley would move mountains should Durant become available during the June 23 episode of Undisputed.
“You know Pat Riley is looking to make a major splash. He’s always wanted Kevin Durant, Skip. Now he thought he had a good chance to get him a couple of years ago,” Sharpe said. “Don’t think he won’t spin the block one more time… The question is what would he (Riley) be willing to give up in order to get him. I believe the only two players that would probably be off-limits is Jimmy and Bam. Because with Jimmy, Bam, and Kevin Durant, you have a potential of an arms race now.”
Durant is arguably one of the best players in the NBA. Last season, the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game, while shooting 51.8% from the field and 38.3% from beyond the arc.
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