Three weeks into the process, the NBA free-agent list not only mostly has been picked clean, but the best of what remains comes with strings attached, from the felony domestic-violence charges against Miles Bridges, to the August court date for Montrezl Harrell regarding the three pounds of marijuana seized from his car, to Collin Sexton standing as a restricted free agent on a market with little remaining cap cash.
Instead, the focus has shifted to the trade market, where the Miami Heat’s attention primarily stood since the start of the offseason personnel period.
But even that element has hit a standstill, as the league tries to get a read on where the Brooklyn Nets stand with reportedly disgruntled forward Kevin Durant.
So, from a Heat perspective, what has, might or could come to market:
Kevin Durant: This stands as perhaps the ultimate Catch-22. Durant reportedly wants to move to a contender that can offer more stability than he has experienced with the Nets. But the trade price for Durant likely would cost an acquiring team an element that appeals to Durant as a team.
A party familiar with the Heat’s approach told the Sun Sentinel that while there has been internal consideration of the team utilizing center Bam Adebayo as a trade component, at least one influential member of the organization has shot down the notion.
Donovan Mitchell: Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge reportedly has been adamant about a package of draft picks similar or greater than the haul realized in the trade of Rudy Gobert to the Utah Jazz. That would put a starting point at five first-rounders.
The Heat currently are in position to deal a maximum of three future first-rounders, but could obtain more either with a deal of Tyler Herro for picks, or obtaining picks for elements of their minimum-scale components (Max Strus, Omer Yurtseven, Gabe Vincent, possibly Nikola Jovic).
If Utah’s focus remains on picks, the New York Knicks are in position to trump any Heat draft package, with nine first-round selections over the next five drafts.
Myles Turner: The hybrid power forward-center seemingly has been on the trade market for years, with the Indiana Pacers in a delicate position with Turner to become a free agent next summer.
Friday, long-time Indianapolis columnist Bob Kravitz, who currently writes for The Athletic, posted on Twitter, “Per source, the Lakers-Pacers trade involving Russell Westbrook, Myles Turner, Buddy Hield and other assets is currently dead. That’s not to say the Lakers can’t come back and add a second first-round pick to the current package of picks, but for now, things are at a standstill.”
In other words, offers continue to be fielded for Turner, who earns $20 million this coming season.
John Collins: Another player who has been linked to the Heat for years, with South Florida ties that include time at Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach.
Even with five-year, $125 million contract that Collins signed ahead of last season with the Atlanta Hawks, the fit alongside Trae Young amid Young’s high usage has been uneven.
With the Hawks cashing in their draft future for Dejounte Murray and then dealing Kevin Huerter to the Sacramento Kings, Atlanta remains a franchise in transition.
Harrison Barnes: Another player who is entering the final season of a contract who might not have a path for a return, Barnes could alleviate some of the Heat’s concerns at power forward.
With Domantas Sabonis acquired by the Kings last season from the Pacers at the significant cost of Tyrese Haliburton, and with first-round pick Keegan Murray coming off an MVP summer league, a return of Richaun Holmes at starting center could push Barnes out of Sacramento’s lineup.
With Barnes at $18.3 million this season, the Heat would have a salary-cap match in Duncan Robinson. But would they have the needed sweeteners?
Kyrie Irving: Heat interest is believed to be nominal, if existent at all, for the mercurial Brooklyn guard.
Irving’s market value will come down to the degree of selloff by the Nets with Durant, if there is a Durant trade at all.
Ancillary moves: With the expected return of Udonis Haslem to position the Heat within the cusp of the luxury tax, smaller Heat moves could come down to outgoing salaries as well as the opening of roster space.
There could remain opportunities for deals with teams in sell mode, such as the Jazz with Patrick Beverely or even Mike Conley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic, or the Orlando Magic with Terrence Ross. But, again such maneuvering likely remains on hold under there is greater clarity with Durant and, to a lesser degree, Mitchell.
Timing: Jovic is not trade eligible until Aug. 1 (based on the timing of the signing of his rookie-scale contract). The Heat cannot include Caleb Martin in a trade until Dec. 15 or Dewayne Dedmon and Victor Oladipo in trades until Jan. 15 (based on their offseason signing as free agents).