Even before Thursday’s 6 p.m. start of NBA free agency, the league was put on notice of an impending seismic shift, further opening a window on why the Miami Heat have stressed a preference to not operate in 2022-23 under a hard salary cap.
Numerous reports have confirmed that Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant is demanding a trade, with NBA sources telling the Sun Sentinel they expected Durant to be moved amid the league’s impending personnel frenzy.
Another domino of the Durant decision is a likely Nets trade of guard Kyrie Irving.
The Heat over the years have been linked to interest in both Durant and Irving, including a free-agency courtship of Durant before he joined the Golden State Warriors.
Although avoidance of the hard cap would ease trade permutations for the Heat, there is a salary-cap component that also could prove problematic in a bid for Durant.
Under NBA rules, teams cannot have multiple players on their roster who are under designated maximum contracts and have been acquired in trades. Ben Simmons currently holds that status with Brooklyn, meaning in order to add Adebayo in a potential deal, the Nets would have to trade Simmons.
As for Irving, the Nets seemingly would be amicable to a deal involving guard Tyler Herro, but the Heat have not shown such inclination.
The turbulence swirling around the Nets comes amid word that the Philadelphia 76ers are poised to attempt to close a deal with Heat free-agent power forward P.J. Tucker by day’s end by utilizing the $10.5 million mid-level exception. The Heat cannot go to that opening-salary level without moving into a hard-capped situation.
Numerous reports also have impending free agent Victor Oladipo likely moving on from the Heat in free agency.
This story and the Heat free-agency situation will be updated throughout the day.