Kevin Durant wants to play for Heat, but only alongside Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry, according to report

Miami Heat - Brooklyn Nets
Jesse D. Garrabrant

As the Brooklyn Nets try to trade Kevin Durant for something that looks like fair value, they’re dealing not only with the teams they’re negotiating with, but with Durant himself. He has listed two teams, the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns, as preferred destinations. This is where it gets complicated: Durant reportedly only wants to join the Heat if most of their team remains 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. Given the small trump cards Miami Brooklyn would have to offer alongside those three, a Heat trade now seems somewhat unlikely.

We can safely say that Butler has never been on the table. Lowry is only valuable to a contender. 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 the No. 27 overall pick Nikola Jovic, along with three future first-rounders and three first-round pick swaps. That’s a huge range for almost anyone, but it won’t be enough to land Durant.

Here’s another complication: Even if the Heat and Durant are open to a deal involving Adebayo, he cannot legally be traded to the Nets at this point. Teams are not allowed to have multiple players on designated rookie extensions acquired through 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 too, but if they could do that without sacrificing Devin Booker or Chris Paul, they’d probably still have enough to tempt the former MVP. If Durant really wants Phoenix above all other destinations, this kind of spill makes sense. If he could discourage the Heat, one of the main threats to the Suns would be off the board. For now, we are so early in the process that it would be foolish to say anything definite.

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