Four NBA off-season questions that have yet to be answered

NBA insider Marc Stein joins Faizel Khamisa to discuss why Kevin Durant may sit out games to force the Brooklyn Nets hand in a trade, how the Nets may hold the leverage in the situation and if a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers is feasible.

The NBA’s off-season is beginning to wind down and training camp for the 2022-23 campaign is on the horizon in just a little over a month.

However, there are still a few large off-season questions that have yet to be answered.

Here’s a look at four of them.

Will Kevin Durant be traded?

The biggest question looming over the NBA since June 30 has been whether or not the Brooklyn Nets would actually deal Kevin Durant after his supposed trade request.

Entering the first year of a four-year extension this coming season that is slated to pay him in excess of $194 million, rumoured negotiations for the all-time great haven’t appeared to gain much traction because of the reportedly astronomical asking price Brooklyn has placed for Durant. Even though the 12-time all-star himself appeared to hit the Nets with an ultimatum of sorts to be traded before the season starts, Brooklyn has no obligation to grant his wish until the right offer comes around for it.

And that leads us to another question: What is the right offer?

The blockbuster deals the Atlanta Hawks swung for Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs and what the Minnesota Timberwolves gave up for Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz have surely risen the market price and likely have forced the Nets to keep Durant’s asking price as high as it appears to be.

So, will Durant be traded? In a league like the NBA you can never say never, but as things stand it seems unlikely he will be with another team by the time training camp rolls around. The package needs to be truly spectacular — such as one that would see a team like the Toronto Raptors giving up a highly-prized asset like Scottie Barnes — for Brooklyn to consider it.

Will LeBron James reunite with Kyrie Irving?

Elsewhere in Nets-land, their other mercurial superstar is swirling around the rumour mill as reports have come out that the freshly extended LeBron James would be amenable to a reunion with his old Cleveland Cavaliers running mate Kyrie Irving with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Given how poorly things appear to have fared with Russell Westbrook running point for the Lakers last season, it makes sense James would be looking to further extend his championship window with a star that he’s already won with — regardless of the pair’s apparent rocky history with each other.

According to longtime NBA insider Marc Stein, James has been told the Lakers are willing to trade their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in order to “aggressively pursue upgrades.”

That is something that sounds enticing, however, as Stein reported, “the Nets’ current stance, sources say, is that they are unwilling to send out Irving in a trade if the deal solely brings back future assets.”

So, while it’s possible L.A. could swing a deal for Irving, it would likely have to package a lot more than just those future picks (and Westbrook) to get it done.

Will Donovan Mitchell be traded?

Given the trade they made that sent Gobert to Minnesota, it’s logical to think the Utah Jazz are looking to tear things down and restock to begin their championship pursuits anew, meaning 25-year-old, three-time all-star guard Donovan Mitchell will need to be traded as well.

When this rumour first started picking up steam, the team most connected to Mitchell was the Knicks because of his New York ties and the fact they have the kind of young assets that could presumably attract the Jazz to help kickstart their rebuild.

There hasn’t been any such apparent progress made on a deal between Utah and New York, however, as a local Jazz reporter said, Utah might actually have a couple of offers they like better from other teams than the one New York has on the table.

With all the rumblings about a trade in the midst with Mitchell, it increasingly feels like something’s going to happen.

Will the Heat extend Tyler Herro?

Among the teams that have been rumoured to be lurking around a Mitchell trade and have outright been connected to a possible Durant deal, the Miami Heat stand out with reigning sixth man of the year Tyler Herro’s name placed in just about every package you possibly think of.

Because of this, the legitimate question of if the Heat will actually extend him is a legitimate one.

Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports the Heat are in no rush to extend Herro and will likely make a decision to extend him or not closer to the Oct. 18 deadline for those eligible for a rookie contract extension such as Herro.

The logic behind this is simple: If the Heat were to extend Herro now it would, essentially, make him completely untradeable as he wouldn’t be eligible to be dealt until Jan. 15, and he would hold the power to veto any deal for a year from the time he signs.

If the Heat are as active as they’re rumoured to be in the trade market right now, it would be absolutely foolhardy of them to lock up their top trade asset at this point.

As things get closer to the Oct. 18 extension deadline and if Herro is still without a deal, things will become a lot more interesting as that'll appear to be a sign Miami is looking to pull the trigger on a trade with him involved.

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