Q. A superstar, without a doubt, but also a great teammate with a Heat-like culture, is Kevin Durant?
I’m not sure. After suffering one of the worst injuries a basketball player can sustain, he is also approaching 30. Yes, he seems to be recovering, and Durant’s 90 percent is better than almost any other player’s 95 percent. But if he gets hurt, you’re only left with Jimmy Butler and a supporting cast of B players, and you’re one injury away from being a lottery team. To get him, we’d have to make far too many sacrifices. – Fort Lauderdale’s Brian
A: In transactions like these, the willingness to provide more often determines the outcome. Caron Butler had to be included in order to obtain Shaquille O’Neal. It required giving up Precious Achiuwa in order to get Kyle Lowry. The Heat have also added draft picks along the way as needed. So the question of how many first-round picks are too many could apply to Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, or even John Collins. I’m not sure if there is such a prohibitive total (above and beyond what the league allows) with Pat Riley and his win-now mentality. So, yes, if the Heat do a big deal this offseason, there might be external concern about having too many draft picks. However, Riley and the Heat will be focused on the chance to advance from good to great.
Q. Is Jimmy Butler actively seeking new talent? – Elliott
A: Doing that is one thing when a player is a free agent (or about to become one), but it is quite another when he still has several years left on his contract, as is the case with Kevin Durant. That is not to say that there aren’t covert texts and conversations, though. However, it’s unlikely that any NBA player currently under contract with a team will publicly advocate for Durant to join their squad. However, this league does not penalize players for using such tactics.
Q: Have the Jazz terminated negotiations to trade for Donovan Mitchell? I’m Justin.
A: There are two options here: Teams may claim they aren’t listening, but they actually are. Considering that almost every team has a cost. As a result, the Jazz are publicly professing their loyalty to Donovan Mitchell. On the other hand, the Jazz are undoubtedly keeping an eye on the market despite their chaos and Danny Ainge’s apparent desire to restructure the roster. Maybe Donovan is the same way.