Kevin Durant has not spoken about free agency, nor will he, but the former league MVP has many intriguing destinations once free agency hits. One of the most intriguing destinations is Miami. Pat Riley, the General Manager of the Miami Heat, is known for getting star players to play for him. This summer, Riley has resigned Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade who are both star players that can really play. In addition to keeping the roster deep, he also drafted Justise Winslow who is already turning out to be a nice surprise.
With the cap room rising, the heat could open up as much as $40 million in cap sapce. This would allow them to sign Durant and also form a true contender. Zach Lowe, from Grantland, analyzes the possibility of Durant winding up in Miami
One star changes everything, and Riley gets stars. Next summer, Miami could open up nearly $40 million in cap room, and as much as $45 million if it moves McRoberts for extra cap space. That’s a ton, but if Whiteside has even a solid season, it’s not enough to bring back both Whiteside and Wade while signing an outside star; the Heat will not have full Bird rights on Whiteside, meaning they will have to dip into cap space to re-sign him.
Consider one example: Durant’s max salary for 2016-17 will be about $25 million, leaving $15 million or $20 million to split between Wade and Whiteside. That won’t do it, unless Wade takes a massive hometown discount. (By the way: Rail against the Durant rumor mill if you want, but you’re kidding yourselves if you don’t think Riley will set Miami up to make a run at him.)
Durant on the heat would certainly give the Cavaliers the challenge in the East that they deserve, but only time can tell. With Pat Riley running the show in Miami, Heat fans can pray with confidence that the mastermind will make an intelligent play for luring Durant in 2016