In news that should surprise absolutely no one, the Heat are among the teams that plan to make a run at Kevin Durant this summer when he hits unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career.
Via the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson:
With the salary cap set to spike by more than $20 million to an estimated $89 million next season, the Heat has left itself flexibility to accommodate the salary of any of the top-tier free agents — from Kevin Durant to DeMar DeRozan to Al Jefferson.
One thing is clear: The Heat intends to make a long-shot bid to lure Durant, who sold his Miami condo earlier this year.
Clearing the space to sign Durant will be tricky for the Heat, who don’t have full Bird rights on Hassan Whiteside and thus can’t go over the cap to re-sign him. It would be borderline impossible to re-sign Whiteside to the max-level deal he will likely command on the open market while also having room to add Durant. Obviously, if you have to make a decision between the two, you pick Durant every time. But this isn’t a situation like 2010 where the Heat can clear the kind of cap space needed to sign multiple superstars while also keeping all of their role players in place.
Nobody knows what Durant is going to do this summer. But because of their organizational track record, they can never be counted out of any race for a top-tier free agent, and their pitch to Durant will be compelling.