The Toronto Raptors appear to be swiftly pivoting strategies amid all of the Kevin Durant trade rumors. After going into the offseason once again looking to build around Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam, the Durant trade request has pushed them into a more aggressive tier.
The Raptors have continuously been mentioned as a potential trade partner for Durant. That sounds like a no-brainer for Toronto, but Durant is still such an insanely good player that the Raptors would need to totally gut their collection of future assets to have a shot at acquiring him.
Barnes has been thrown around as a potential dealbreaker in Durant talks. The general consensus is that the Raptors are unwilling to include Barnes in trade packages, as they don’t want to give away a budding All-Star for someone with as many battle scars as Durant.
The Raptors are likely going to be in the KD hunt until the last available moment, but they should be steadfast in their desire to keep Barnes on the roster. Sending him to Brooklyn in the Durant deal could haunt the Raptors for years to come if he panes out.
3 reasons Raptors can’t trade Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant
3. Long-term potential
Part of what makes Durant coming to Toronto so attractive is the idea of what he could bring to a Barnes-led team. Even though Barnes may not become the scorer or overall player Durant has been at his best, Scottie will be such an intriguing long-term piece for Toronto to nurture.
Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game last year despite being billed as a raw offensive player and often going into games as the fourth or fifth scoring option. With his jumper starting to be a more effective weapon than it was in the past, Barnes is on the rise.
Scottie Barnes will benefit the Toronto Raptors in the long term.
If the Raptors manage to acquire Durant without giving up Barnes, Scottie would have a perfect mentor to learn from on the offensive end. Durant has already been very positive in his praise of Barnes’ skills, and he could play a part in refining those skills to the point where Scottie becomes a 20-per-game scorer.
While the Raptors would instantly become a contender with Durant, it would be tough to see Barnes blossom in Brooklyn as a result of this deal. A KD-Barnes 1-2 punch would keep Toronto in the hunt for the next half-decade and help set Scottie up for success when Durant departs.