The pursuit to land Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant is expected to drag out through the summer as the Miami Heat, and other possible contenders, work to put together a competitive offer for the 33-year-old power forward.
Earlier this month, Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels noted that Durant sweepstakes remain stagnant because “the market is sluggish to develop as teams reevaluate their rosters after the draft and the early stages of free agency. The action should pick up as training camp moves closer, though.”
However, on Wednesday, July 20, ESPN analyst Brian Windhorst offered another reason as to why it’s taking so long for a Durant trade to come to fruition, placing much of the blame on the 12-time All-Star and his lack of transparency with the team.
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Windhorst said during an appearance on Get Up, “From what I understand, the trade talks involving Kevin Durant have slowed to a trickle. You can still get some Nets folks on the phone if you want to make an offer, but they are not aggressively, I am told, making outgoing calls.
“What I will say is nobody knows what Kevin Durant is thinking right now. His communication with teammates and others in the league has been sparse. I don’t even think that the Nets have a 100% understanding of why Kevin asked for a trade.”
“He spoke to the owner, Joe Tsai, and gave a reason, but I’m not sure the Nets are 100% on the understanding of it,” Windhorst continued. “I think the next step in this – barring a team’s change of heart to meet the Nets’ price, which I don’t see at this point on the calendar – I think we’re going to have to wait to hear from Kevin Durant about how open he is to running it back with the Nets. Here we go, as everybody breaks for summer, sitting and waiting for that to happen.”
Windhorst Also Said the Donovan Mitchell Situation Is Looking Like a ‘Stalemate’
If Miami fails to obtain Durant, their top trade target becomes Utah Jazz’s three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell. However, after the massive return Utah received for Rudy Gobert, the team’s asking price for Mitchell is insanely high.
“The Donovan Mitchell situation is really headed towards a stalemate,” Windhorst said on Get Up. “The sticker shock is out there for the price that the Jazz are asking, and the Jazz are like, ‘Look, we are in no rush. We’re going to sit back and wait for you to meet it.’ The teams are like, ‘We’re not going to increase our (offers).’ And Donovan Mitchell is not pushing it, so I hope everybody enjoys their summer.”
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley shared a similar sentiment on Wednesday, noting how the Heat doesn’t currently have the assets to facilitate a trade for either superstar target.
“Durant feels out of reach, even for an expert whaler like Heat president Pat Riley,” Buckley wrote. “Mitchell seems more reasonable, though if the Jazz seek a similarly pick-heavy package to the one they received for Rudy Gobert, Miami might be out of luck. Tyler Herro is a nice trade chip, but he isn’t anchoring a blockbuster deal on his own.”
Should the Heat Go Harder for Mitchell or Durant?
Miami doesn’t have enough cap space to sign another player (assuming team captain Udonis Haslem rejoins the team on a veteran’s minimum), which means the only way the Heat can boost their roster is through a trade.
While the Heat remains focused on Durant, ESPN’s NBA Insider Kevin Pelton recently urged Miami to dedicate all their time and energy to land Mitchell instead.
“Durant turns 34 in September, which puts him in the same range as Miami starters Jimmy Butler (33 in September) and Kyle Lowry (36),” Pelton wrote. “By contrast, the 25-year-old Mitchell would reset the Heat’s timeline and align it with 24-year-old center Bam Adebayo. And if Miami doesn’t think the Nets will ultimately trade Durant, this might be its best chance to land a third star while Butler is in his late prime.”
Despite his age, Durant remains 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.
As for Mitchell, the 6-foot-1 guard averaged 25.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals per game last season.