The Miami Heat will meet with Kevin Durant on Sunday in New York while Dwyane Wade continues talks with other teams.
Miami is looking to swing for the fences and land the biggest star on the market this off-season. Durant has met with several teams thus far and it appears Miami may give the last sales pitch. The All-Star will likely command a max deal and that could prove difficult for the Heat.
The Heat have already come to terms with Hassan Whiteside this off-season on a large new contract. Miami also has sizable commitments with Chris Bosh and Goran Dragic. Outside of that, the Heat will need to pay Wade handsomely if it wishes to retain his services.
For Miami to bring Durant on-board and retain Wade, it would have to get creative. Team president Pat Riley is not afraid of thinking outside the box, but this would require a lot of thinking and maneuvering. Trades would be needed and there could be some talk of a rarely used provision.
Bosh's status complicates matters for Riley greatly, as he does not know if the big man will be able to play next season. Miami could opt to use the stretch provision on Bosh which would reduce his cap number in 2016-17. The provision which teams hardly use would cut Bosh's salary number in half and stretch it over seven seasons. Currently, Bosh is set to be paid max money over each of the next three seasons.
Even if Miami fails to sign Durant, it will still likely have to free up some money. With roughly $20 million left, the Heat could end up giving all of that to Wade. The team would still need to fill out its roster at that point. With Luol Deng and Joe Johnson heading elsewhere on Saturday, Miami's options are getting thin.
Durant can make more money elsewhere and arguably has a better chance to win a title in other cities. That being said, Riley and the Heat have a history of making the seemingly impossible happen.