This is how the NBA game of commerce is played, by sending signals without having to own them.
For the Miami Heat, the last message couldn’t have been more clear, Bam Adebayo or bankruptcy when it comes to where the Brooklyn Nets streak of business with Kevin Durant stands.
Monday was the latest example of not having to say anything in order for the messages to resonate.
Do you think Boston Celtics president Brad Stevens wants to deal with the fallout if Jaylen Brown isn’t transferred in a business deal with the Nets? That could be even more difficult than Deandre Ayton’s impending encounter with the Phoenix Suns after his free agency went wrong.
But there is no doubt that NETs General Manager Sean Marks could not be happier.
The bar is now set following a duel and closely timed reports from ESPN and The Athletic regarding Celtics’ willingness to include Brown in a package for Durant.
So here it is, said, without saying it, by Marx: put up all the stars recently, and then we’ll talk. Brown was an All-Star in 2021, and Adebayo in 2020. They each wore the designation once.
This is how it’s done, and how the NBA trading schedules are set.
Despite all of Danny Inge’s talk of wanting to pick at least four, five, six or more first-round picks for Donovan Michelle, has anyone actually heard him say those words, post them on social media, write them?
However, the Utah Jazz couldn’t explain it more clearly, either come with drafts on hand or don’t waste the effort.
Now it’s the same with Nets, Durant and Brown.
What ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Athletic’s Shams Charania have done is amplify Marks’ desires for the rest of the NBA, as he has a young NBA All-Star show on hand.
So are the Toronto Raptors now reconsidering with Scotty Barnes, who was thought to be outlawed? Or put Pascal Siakam (All-Star 2020) into play?
Is the New Orleans Pelicans back again with a package highlighted by Brandon Ingram (2020 All-Star), or, dare you look at it, Zion Williamson?
And yes, Golden State Warriors striker Andrew Wiggins (All-Star 2022) is looming as a backup option.
Until the Braun Celtics revelations, there was a belief Durant could make as little as $1 on the dollar, especially considering that he was 34 at the start of training camp and missed the entire 2019-20 season through injury, winning one playoff series. As a member of Nets.
Now the reserve price for the auction has been determined.
No, the sort of Tyler Hero-Duncan Robinson proposal he picks doesn’t work out a deal for Heat. Nor is Kyle Lowery, 36, who does not fit the definition of a young All-Star, who is 11 years older than Brown.
Although Hit was hardly a revelation, he had discussions regarding Adebayo in the Durant trade. This is also nothing more than the usual due diligence when an important commercial piece is brought to market, just as it was when beloved franchise clips Brian Grant and Caron Butler were played for Shaquille O’Neal in 2004 or when Eddie Jones was handed a year away to complete the core tournament.
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But it’s different now than it was when a certain very influential member of the franchise recently ruled Adebayo out of bounds. That was before the risks were formally identified. Now, that’s what it will take. Because now someone familiar with the nets’ machinations set the standards at Jaylene Brown. . . or better. (Although with Adebayo, there is a tricky situation that he is not allowed to be on the Nets roster along with Ben Simmons, due to dodging the salary cap.)
So with the Heat, it starts here: Are the cores of Durant, Laurie, and Jimmy Butler the core of the championship, or at least better than the core of last season that earned the Heat in one NBA Finals game?
But then you can also jump into how much to burn the future by moving Adebayo and Herro.
With Butler 32, Lowry 36, and Durant turning 34, you’ll likely be looking at a two-year window, which coincides with the time remaining in Lowry’s contract.
Then, with Herro and Adebayo dealing and draft footage, there will be no future, instead most likely the passing of Pat Riley’s torch.
There is still a way to Durant. . . at the expense of future shock.
Otherwise, Monday’s disclosure about Brown made it clear that there would likely be no net (net) loss for the Heat by moving to Plan B.