They are not close to a deal for either, and draft picks are part of the issue.
The Miami Heat currently can trade two of their own first-round draft picks. That number could jump to three if the Heat can strike a deal with the Thunder to change the protections on their 2025 first-round pick (that pick is currently lottery protected, if it doesn’t convey the first year it is unprotected in 2026).
Two is not enough in the Donovan Mitchell sweepstakes. The Jazz are hoarding draft picks for a rebuild and they just got four first-rounders (plus a 2022 first-round pick in Walker Kessler) in the Rudy Gobert trade — they want more for Mitchell. The Knicks have up to eight first-round picks they can trade, which is why they are the frontrunners.
Two first-rounders are likely not enough to land Kevin Durant either, although the Nets are more focused on players and not simply picks.
Which is why the Heat are looking for deals to add draft picks, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said on his Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast. There are no details on how that would happen.
While adding picks makes sense, it may not be enough.
Any Heat trade package is based around Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, plus picks and other players (Bam Adebayo is off the table, and can’t be traded to the Nets anyway unless they move Ben Simmons because of the arcane rule about not trading for two players on max rookie extensions).
In the case of Mitchell, the fact Herro is contract extension eligible this offseason — and would be a restricted free agent in 2023 if no extension is reached — gives the Jazz pause. Especially considering Herro is asking for a max contract. While he may not get the full max, he will land a big number deal. The rebuilding Jazz are not looking to add that to their payroll right now — it’s why they are not interested in RJ Barrett from the Knicks in a trade (Barrett, too, is up for a big new contract). Robinson already signed his extension and has four years, $74.4 million left on it (the last year is a player option).
In the case of Durant, the Nets want an All-Star and the buzz from league sources is they are lukewarm on a Herro and Robinson package, even with more picks.
Never count out Pat Riley. He has a way of making the unexpected — and seemingly impossible — happen. And there is a reason the Heat are in the mix for both players.
But to make anything happen, the Heat need more first-round draft picks, and those will come with a steep price.