Kevin Durant Brooklyn may have given a wish list for two teams with his trade demand — Phoenix and Miami — but the nets are not obliged to comply with his wishes. Durant is under contract for another four years and the Nets’ priority should be to get the best return in a trading package they can.
Therefore, the Toronto Raptors are in conversation.
The Raptors believe – rightly – that they can put together a more compelling trading package than any other team, reports Michael Grange to SportsNet†
In addition to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting Friday that the Raptors are “lurking” in the background of the Kevin Durant trade talks that have taken the NBA hostage for the past few days, I can confirm that not only are the Raptors “lurking,” but that they also feel they can put together the best package of assets the Brooklyn Nets are likely to get. Confidence isn’t the word for it, but maybe optimism is.
The Raptors’ offer would be based on the All-NBA attacker Pascal Siakam and wing OG Anunoby, plus three first-round picks. Other players can be on either side of the mix – the Nets are looking for players like Joe Harris too – but Siakam and Anunoby would be at the heart of any offering. That would still leave the Raptors with Fred Van Vleet† Gary Trent Jr. and plenty of other talent that would make a title contender.
The Nets will probably ask for Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnesbut that might be a step too far for the Raptors.
The Raptors are determined to keep rookie of the year Scottie Barnes out of any package they offer. Can they stick with that and still acquire the NBA’s second-biggest active scorer?
As one person with knowledge of the situation put it, “That’s the billion dollar question.”
Outside of Barnes, two other big questions arise about the Raptors bid.
First, would Durant agree to trade north of the border? Any answer to that is pure speculation. However, as mentioned above, Durant has limited leverage as he still has four years left on his contract – if he wants to get paid, he has to show up wherever he’s traded. More importantly, the Raptors have shown before with Kawhi Leonard they’re willing to bring in a superstar who doesn’t want to be there chasing a title (and that worked out pretty well for Toronto).
Second, what do the Nets prefer? The Suns are considered the frontrunners for a Durant transaction, and their offering is built around a Deandre Ayton sign-and-trade packed with Mikal Bridges and three future first-round picks. Those are younger but less established stars than Siakam and Anunoby. If the Nets want to try to build around? Ben Simmons and who do they get back in this trade, which offer appeals to them more? Or is it a third team that isn’t discussed, like a Clipper offer around it? Paul George† Or an offer from Celtics with Jaylen Brown as a center?
The Suns have options.
But the Raptors may have the best offer on the table and a hard one to refuse.
See more on the Nets
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Report: Raptors think they can make the best offer for Kevin Durant originally appeared on NBCSports.com