Q: Ira, the Kevin Durant saga is over the top. He’s 34, past his prime, and exactly how many championships has he won without Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson/Draymond Green? Zero. How many NBA Finals has he gone without Russell Westbrook/James Harden/Serge Ibaka? Zero again. Giving away a young All-Star and a few first-round picks to a player who’s past his prime and never made those around him is too high a price to pay. – Phil, Boca Raton.
A: First, let’s not do that. Let’s not devalue the prize at the risk of coming up short. Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the game today, one of the best of all time. So, yes, you pursue and pursue hard. But if you don’t land it, you also won’t walk away saying the chase wasn’t worth it. Put it this way: If you heard that Kevin Durant was available and your team didn’t make a better offer, how would you feel about your team? But it also doesn’t mean your team didn’t have/lacks competition without such a blockbuster.
Q: I see Ben Simmons averaging double figures in assists and providing elite defense in Erik Spoelstra’s positionless system. – David, Venice.
A: This was brought up as a talking point because in order for the Nets to get Bam Adebayo in any possible trade for Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons would have to deal with the Heat. And, yes, Erik Spoelstra’s positionless defensive system would seem tailor-made for Benn. But Ben still has a lot of questions, including how to get on the court and stay on it. Also, a Simmons-Jimmy Butler matchup could be a hurricane.
Q: To me, Bam Adebayo is untouchable only on this list, due to the fact that the Heat will not have defenders on the four and five – Alt.
A: First, when you get Kevin Durant, you have a defender at the power forward position. And it’s not like Bam Adebayo was shutting down the game’s biggest centers. As with Bam, if he were to be moved in a trade, Erik Spoelstra would adapt the system to his new personnel. That’s what the best coaches do. You can marry a player; you cannot be wedded solely to the system. Behm is unique, thus a unique approach to defense over the past few seasons.