It's rare when any team has the opportunity to trade for a star of Kevin Durant's caliber. As one of the best players in basketball, he has the power to make Miami title favorites overnight.
But is he really the player that Miami should be prioritizing? According to ESPN's Kevin Pelton, the answer is no.
While the Heat remains focused on Durant, ESPN’s NBA Insider Kevin Pelton recently urged Miami to dedicate all their time and energy to landing Utah Jazz’s three-time All-Star Donovan Mitchell instead.
“Durant turns 34 in September, which puts him in the same range as Miami starters Jimmy Butler (33 in September) and Kyle Lowry (36),” Pelton wrote. “By contrast, the 25-year-old Mitchell would reset the Heat’s timeline and align it with 24-year-old center Bam Adebayo. And if Miami doesn’t think the Nets will ultimately trade Durant, this might be its best chance to land a third star while [Jimmy] Butler is in his late prime.”
Durant is a much more lucrative target than Mitchell and also a more ambitious one. As a 2x champion, former MVP, and 12x All-Star, Durant has the resume of a basketball legend.
With only 3 All-Star appearances under his belt, Donovan Mitchell is nowhere close to that. He's not as gifted offensively and is way worse defensively. Nevertheless, what he does bring to the table as a scorer and playmaker would make him a valuable addition next to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. He also would come at a much cheaper price than KD, whose value is so high that practically no team in the league is willing to trade for him right now.
Best of all, Mitchell is just 25 years old. He could bring success to the Heat for much longer than Durant would, and his fit with Bam would be almost seamless.
For now, Pat Riley has his eyes set on Durant, and nobody can blame him for that. But maybe he should re-consider who he wants to bring in the most. Sometimes, the best player isn't always the best option.