Oklahoma City’s surprising playoff run means there’s virtually no chance that Kevin Durant will land with the Heat as a free agent, Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel opines. Unless he’s desperate to get out of Oklahoma City, Durant has no real incentive to leave a team that can win championships, Hyde continues. While the Heat still must make an effort to contact Durant during free agency, it’s now clearcut that re-signing center Hassan Whiteside is their biggest offseason priority, Hyde adds.
In other news regarding the Heat:
- Retaining free agent small forward Luol Deng will be difficult if the Heat manage to retain Whiteside, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. It will be tough to make the salary-cap math work in that scenario, as Deng likely will have suitors willing to immediately pay a number the Heat would hesitate to match while wooing Whiteside, Winderman continues. Starting point guard Goran Dragic could be traded to free up cap space, while Dwyane Wade is likely to finish his career in Miami, Winderman adds while examining the roster.
- Restricted free agent Tyler Johnson might interest the point-guard starved Knicks, Marc Berman of the New York Post speculates. Johnson is quite versatile and would be a good fit if New York continues to run the triangle offense under new coach Jeff Hornacek.
- Continuity under team president Pat Riley and a stable coaching staff are the Heat’s greatest assets, Hyde writes in a separate piece. The belief that the Heat will regain their status as a prime title contender starts with Riley, according to Hyde, adding that Riley’s biggest decision this summer is whether the team should splurge on an outside free agent or wait until next year.