Tuesday stood as a day of juxtaposition for the Miami Heat. On a day Kevin Durant appeared more available than ever on the NBA trade market, the Heat disappeared from a pair of lists of potential suitors for the disgruntled Brooklyn Nets forward.
At least in the eyes of some of the wiseguys.
As they are wont to do amid such heavily publicized sports moments, a pair of offshore books updated their odds of potential landing spots for the 12-time All-Star.
The Heat were nowhere to be found.
SportsBetting.ag listed 12 possible landing spots for Durant, the day after a report from The Athletic of Durant insisting on regime change in Brooklyn for him to stay.
The list of that dozen teams had the Boston Celtics as a robust favorite, at minus 175. Next closest on that list were the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors, all at plus 400. The list also included odds for the Portland Trail Blazers (+900), Memphis Grizzlies (+1200), Los Angeles Clippers (+1400), Atlanta Hawks (+1600), New York Knicks (+1600), Los Angeles Lakers (+1800), Chicago Bulls (+2200) and Oklahoma City Thunder (+2200).
At BetOnLine.ag, the Celtics also were listed at minus 175 (4-to-7 odds) as the favorite to land Durant, followed by Suns +350 (7-to-2), Warriors +400 (4-to-1), Raptors +400, Trail Blazers +900, Grizzlies +1200, Los Angeles Clippers +1400, Hawks +1600, Knicks +1600, Lakers +1800, Bulls +2200 and Thunder +2200.
Those numbers represent a dramatic shift since Durant’s initial trade request on June 30, when ESPN reported that the Suns and Heat were his preferred landing spots.
Since that initial request, the Suns lost center Deandre Ayton as a possible trade chip, after he was re-signed by Phoenix as a restricted free agent and became ineligible to be dealt. In that same time frame, the Sun Sentinel confirmed that one high-ranking member of the Heat vetoed a potential Heat trade bid with center Bam Adebayo.
In the interim have come reports of a willingness by the Celtics to include former All-Star guard Jaylen Brown into a potential Durant trade package, the biggest name reported to have been offered for Durant.
Amid speculation last month about the potential availability of Durant and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, the Heat put out word that they were content with their current roster, one the lost only veteran power forward P.J. Tucker from the core that finished within one game of last season’s NBA Finals.
But then came the latest salvo from Durant, 33. with the report that the only path for his return to the Nets would be the dismissal of Brooklyn coach Steve Nash and General Manager Sean Marks, the former Heat center.
Against that backdrop, Nets owner Joe Tsai posted Monday night on Twitter, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”
Even if the Heat were to up the ante by offering Adebayo, it would remain a tricky proposition for the teams’ front offices. Because teams can only have on their roster one player acquired in a trade who is on a maximum rookie-scale extension, the Nets would have to offload Ben Simmons in order to acquire Adebayo, with both signed to such deals. Simmons was acquired by the Nets in February in the trade that sent James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers.
In the absence of Adebayo, the best Heat offer likely would center around Tyler Herro, with a variety of other contracts needed to match Durant’s $44 million 2022-23 salary. Among Heat options in that regard could be Duncan Robinson or Kyle Lowry, who recently acknowledged dealing with trade rumors. Durant is under contract through 2025-26.
Nonetheless, The Athletic’s report on Durant’s latest iteration of his trade request said, “The Celtics, Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat remain the most significant candidates to acquire Durant, sources said.”
The Heat were among the finalists for Durant’s services in 2017 free agency, before he opted to move from the Thunder to the Warriors.
The most significant twist to the Durant drama is there now appears to be a definitive deadline for action by the Nets. With NBA teams holding their annual media day on Sept. 26, a day ahead of the start of training camp, it would appear that would be a drop-dead date for the Nets to either deal Durant or move on from Nash and Marks.