It’s been a quiet offseason for the Miami Heat so far. After losing P.J. Tucker to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat have yet to find a replacement for him. So far, they’ve only re-signed their free agents. Why? Because Miami is going all-in on both Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. Both players are on the market with their teams looking to get a huge trade package in return. Miami would love to get their hands on either player. However, there’s no shot at landing either player without assistance from other teams. And it appears that’s what they’re currently doing.
During his “Please don’t Aggregate This” podcast, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer revealed that the Heat are looking to acquire multiple picks for their star trade targets. As it currently stands, Miami is only able to trade two of their first-round picks because of the Stepien Rule. That number can extend to three if it can strike a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder to unprotect their 2025 first-round pick, which is currently lottery-protected. If not conveyed in 2025, it gets unprotected in 2026. If the Heat is going to pull off a big trade, the Thunder will likely be involved, and possibly others as well.
Meeting the Asking Price
Trading just two picks will not meet Utah Jazz‘s asking price for Mitchell. Utah was able to get four first-rounders and a pick swap in their return for Rudy Gobert. They’re going to want at least that or more. Currently, the New York Knicks are the only top suitor who can meet that price with eight available first-rounders to trade. This is why New York is the leader in the Mitchell sweepstakes. Even though they have eight picks to trade, the Knicks are reportedly unwilling to trade them all. This opens the door for Miami and other teams to come up with ways to produce more picks.
Like Utah, two first-round picks are not enough to pry Durant from Brooklyn either. But Brooklyn is more focused on players than simply picks. The Nets wouldn’t mind picks but they are not looking to rebuild if they trade Durant. They gave up tons of picks in the James Harden trade to make a championship run, but that never happened. Those picks are not coming back even if they decided to rebuild. So far, no teams have come close to matching the Net’s asking price. Durant’s other preferred destination, the Phoenix Suns, may have dampened their chances by matching DeAndre Ayton‘s offer sheet. Phoenix is unable to include Ayton in any trades until January 15.
For Miami, it’s all about making a compelling offer to acquire another star. In the end, this may take four or five teams to make a compelling offer. The question is if Miami can coup up multiple firsts for Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and others. Tyler Herro has played well enough to get a first-rounder, maybe even two. However, he will likely land in either Brooklyn or Utah if Miami can land one of the two stars. It’s going to be hard to execute this kind of trade involving a lot of teams. But if anyone is willing to try, it’s Heat general manager Andy Elisburg and team president Pat Riley. These two men are the main reasons why Miami is still on the hunt for both players. We’ll see if they can get it done over these next few months.
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