Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald looked at how the uncertain future of Kyrie Irving could help determine if the Heat and other teams will be able to pursue Durant.
“There would be significant interest from numerous teams, including the Heat, in adding Durant if he were to become available,” Chiang wrote. “Durant, who turns 34 in September, is still considered to be among the league’s top players even after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2019.”
Irving has a player option for the 2022-23 season, but efforts to work out a contract extension with the Nets have gained little traction. That could mean that Irving opts out of the final year of his deal, with the deadline for that decision coming on Wednesday.
If Irving leaves in that fashion or through a sign-and-trade, then Durant is likely to express his desire to leave the Nets rather than be part of a rebuilding effort.
During the 2021-22 season, Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game, while also connecting on 38.3 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Last year, Durant signed a four-year contract worth $194 million, a massive investment that indicates his on-court value and explains all of the enthusiasm for his services.
The nuances of acquiring Durant remain a question mark, though the Heat have been able to navigate this territory before. Three years ago, they acquired Jimmy Butler in a sign-and trade deal, then did it again last year with Kyle Lowry.
Exactly where Durant might want to go is also uncertain, but the Heat are strong contenders in the Eastern Conference. That status would obviously get Durant’s attention, but there will undoubtedly be other top teams in pursuit as well.
For now, the Heat and those other teams will simply have to wait to see what Irving does and then act accordingly.