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Crowder, Barnes options for Heat if no Kevin Durant

Miami is still missing a power forward following P.J. Tucker’s departure.

Phoenix Suns v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald said that the Miami Heat’s pursuit of Kevin Durant is “ongoing.” He reported that Heat general manager Andy Elisburg and Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks dined together in a Las Vegas hotel Monday morning.

But he said that should no trade for Durant materialize, the Heat could trade for former Miami player Jae Crowder or Harrison Barnes.

It’s no secret P.J. Tucker’s departure has left the Heat’s roster unbalanced. At guard, Miami has all the players from last year’s team — Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent, Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, Max Strus and Duncan Robinson. But at power forward, the Heat only have Caleb Martin, 2022 first-round pick Nikola Jovic and seldom-used Haywood Highsmith, who first joined Miami when the Omicron variant sidelined several players last winter. While Jimmy Butler can play the four, it’d behoove the Heat to avoid doing that in the regular season.

Jackson notes that a trade for Crowder would be “challenging from a cap standpoint” because the Phoenix Suns would have to take on Duncan Robinson and add another piece. Robinson, whose trade value is low following his benching during the playoffs, has four years left on his contract. The last year of the contract, in the 2025-26, is partially guaranteed.

Crowder will earn $10.2 million this season, while Barnes will make $18.4 million. Both are in the last year of their contracts. Because Robinson will make $16.9 million this year, that makes a trade centered around a Robinson-for-Barnes framework easier.