Kevin Durant Next Team Odds: Suns Favored Over Heat

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) against the Boston Celtics during second quarter NBA action. The Boston Celtics host the Brooklyn Nets during an NBA game at TD Garden in Boston on March 6, 2022.
Image Credit: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

NBA free agency kicked off less than 24 hours ago, and we’ve already had tons of craziness. Superstars like Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Ja Morant all re-signed with their current teams on max contracts. The Knicks agreed to pay Jalen Brunson more than $25 million per year for four years. The Celtics stole Malcolm Brogdon for essentially nothing, making them the new betting favorites to win the 2023 NBA Finals.

Then, there’s the Nets. The NBA’s best reality show has been even spicier than usual during the offseason. It started with reports that Kyrie Irving would force his way out of town. The Nets seemed to be OK with that, but Kyrie shocked everyone by accepting his player option for next season.

It seemed like the coast was clear for the Nets to run it back, but now Kevin Durant is reportedly seeking a trade. Durant still has four years and nearly $200 million left on his contract, but he’s ready to take his talents elsewhere.

Durant has been limited by injuries over the past two years, but he remains as good as ever when on the floor. He averaged 29.9 points per game on 51.8% shooting last season, and his combination of scoring volume and efficiency remains basically unmatched.

Unsurprisingly, there are already a host of teams lining up to try to secure his services from the Nets. PointsBet has placed odds on who he will play his next game for.

The Favorites

The Suns and Heat have emerged as the two frontrunners to land Durant. It makes sense: The Suns have the ability to easily absorb his salary thanks to Deandre Ayton, while the Heat are notorious for luring big-name players to South Beach.

The Suns were arguably the best team in basketball during the regular season, and adding Durant would undoubtedly make them the title favorites. It’s also the type of move that makes sense for the organization. Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger, so even though their title window just opened, it could be closing very soon. Something like Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and a host of picks would be as good as the Nets could hope for.

The Heat’s package is a bit less appealing, headlined by Tyler Herro. That could potentially change if the Heat make Bam Adebayo available, but a unique rule means that the Nets can’t acquire Adebayo since they already have Ben Simmons. Pat Riley has worked his devil magic plenty of times in the past, but I give the Suns the clear edge in this tier.

The Hopefuls

The Mavericks lead this tier at +400, while the Bulls, Blazers, 76ers, and Celtics are all less than +1500. The Celtics might be out of the running after trading for Brogdon, while I don’t think the 76ers are a realistic landing spot. The Nets are reportedly working with Durant, and it’s hard to see KD being that enthused about reuniting with James Harden.

The Blazers are my favorite betting value of the group. They’re attempting to rebuild on the fly, and they’ve already agreed to extensions with Anfernee Simons and Jusuf Nurkic. They also acquired Jerami Grant in a trade with the Pistons, so they should be much better than last year as long as Damian Lillard stays healthy.

The Blazers could make a package involving Simons, Josh Hart, and Eric Bledsoe’s expiring contract to go along with a bunch of picks. They don’t have their own pick next year – unless it falls in the lottery – but they have the Bucks’ first-rounder in 2025.

The Longshots

PointsBet has four teams listed between +2000 and +3000: the Hawks, Pelicans, Lakers, and Warriors. The Hawks have already made a huge splash this offseason, trading for Dejounte Murray. That cost them three future first-round picks, but they still have plenty of flexibility from a cap perspective. They could move John Collins and either Bogdan Bogdanovic or Clint Capela, but I’m not sure they have enough remaining draft capital to entice the Nets.

The Lakers are in the same boat. It seems much more likely that they make a trade for Irving than Durant, so I’m crossing them off as well.

The Warriors are an interesting option, but I’m not sure they can get it done either. The biggest reason is that the Nets would be unable to pair Andrew Wiggins and Ben Simmons for the same reason they can’t pair Adebayo and Simmons.

That leaves the Pelicans as the most likely fit in this tier. They would likely have to give up Brandon Ingram, and it remains to be seen if they’re interested in doing so. Still, the idea of pairing Durant with Zion Williamson is tantalizing.

The Nets are reportedly interested in acquiring young players as opposed to tons of draft picks, which makes sense given the state of their franchise. They have virtually none of their own picks in the coming years, so bottoming out is not an appealing option. That makes Ingram the ideal type of player for their rebuild. I’ll add a sprinkle on the Pelicans for that reason.