How much would be too much for the Heat for Kevin Durant? – The Denver Post


Q: Kevin Durant is a superstar, no doubt, but a great teammate and someone with a built-in Heat type of culture? Not so sure. He’s also on the wrong side of 30, after one of the most serious injuries a basketball player can have. Yes, he appears recovered and 90% of Durant is better than 95% of nearly any other player. But you’re then one injury away from being a lottery team should he go down and all you have left on the roster are Jimmy Butler and a surrounding cast of B players. We’d have to give up far too much to get him. – Brian, Fort Lauderdale.

A: Deals such as these typically come down to the willingness to offer something more. To get Shaquille O’Neal, it meant throwing in Caron Butler. To get Kyle Lowry, it meant giving up Precious Achiuwa. And along the way the Heat have tossed in draft picks when needed. So whether it is Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell, or perhaps even John Collins, it could come down to how many first-round picks are too many? With Pat Riley, and his win-now approach, I’m not sure such a prohibitive total exists (beyond the league’s restrictions). So, yes, if there is a mega deal for the Heat this offseason, it might come with external consternation about one draft pick too many. But for Riley and the Heat, it will be about the opportunity to go from good to great.

Q: Is Jimmy Butler out there recruiting? – Elliott.

A: It is one thing to do that when a player is a free agent (or an impending free agent), another when he has multiple years remaining on a contract, as is the case with Kevin Durant. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t subtle texts and conversations. But I doubt you are going to see any player under contract to an NBA team publicly campaigning for Durant to join their team. Then again, this is a league that does not sanction players for such approaches.

Q: Have the Jazz shut down trade talks for Donovan Mitchell? – Justin.

A: Two answers here: Teams might say they aren’t listening . . . but they are. Because almost every team has its price. So, on one hand, the Jazz are publicly swearing allegiance to Donovan Mitchell. But, on the other hand, amid their chaos and Danny Ainge’s seeming desire to remake the roster, the Jazz assuredly are monitoring the market. As, possibly, is Donovan, as well.



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