Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant blew up the start of free agency by announcing he wanted a trade 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.
However, if Durant lands with the Heat, that could mean Nets star Ben Simmons will have to be traded, as well.
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Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman tweeted, “As @BobbyMarks42 has pointed out this week, the Heat cannot include Bam Adebayo in any deal for Durant, since the Nets already have Ben Simmons as a designated-contract player. Only way for Bam to go to Nets in a Durant deal would be for Nets to also trade Ben Simmons.”
Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang explained, “That’s because of the Designated Rookie Extension rule: A team can’t have two players acquired via trade who were signed to that type of extension. Simmons also falls into that category.”
Simmons, a three-time All-Star, has yet to play a game with the Nets since he was traded form the Philadelphia 76ers in the middle of the 2022 NBA Season, and he missed the start of the season due to mental health. Amid all the drama surrounding the Nets — it’s possible both Durant and Kyrie Irving get traded this offseason — the 25-year-old guard deleted his Instagram account late on Saturday, July 3.
Even if the Heat don’t land Durant, or do so without having to give up Adebayo, there’s a very good chance Simmons starts the 2022-23 NBA season playing on a team that looks very different from the one he initially signed on to join.
If Nets owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks are looking for a true rebuild, the first overall pick from the 2016 NBA Draft could be on the move. Bally Sports’ NBA Insider Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson tweeted on July 2, “Keep your eye on Utah! @WindhorstESPN was on to something! Nets have pondered Ben Simmons, Utah Jazz.”
Durant’s Requirement for a Heat Trade Could Make a Deal Impossible
The Athletic‘s Alex Schiffer wrote, “I’m told the Nets want multiple All-Stars in any deal for Durant. I do not count Tyler Herro in that category, despite the year he’s had. So if you’re Miami, how do you acquire Durant?”
John Hollinger, a fellow reporter for The Athletic, stated that everyone is on the table when it comes to Durant. “Some guys who thought they were untouchable are about to find out how touchable they are. It seems crazy for Miami to call the Nets and offer Jimmy Butler… but on the other hand, how could they not?”
However, new details emerged concerning the superstar’s requirement for landing in Miami which could serve as a “significant obstacle on that front,” The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported on Friday, July 1.
“Durant, it seems, would only want to play on a Heat team that includes Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry. So even if the Heat were willing to move Butler in a deal as a way of satisfying the Nets’ (understandably pricey) request, doing so would leave Durant discontented from the start,” Amick wrote.
While Durant joining a starting lineup that includes Lowry, Butler, and Adebayo, sounds incredible, the likelihood of that happening seems highly unlikely.
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.