As more suitors continue to flake away in the Kevin Durant trade sweepstakes, the Toronto Raptors remain firmly in the mix. Even though they are unwilling to part ways with Scottie Barnes in a move, the Raptors clearly have some degree of interest in bringing Durant to town.
Raptors fans dreaming of a future centered around Barnes, Durant, and Pascal Siakam may not have been unreasonable. With Phoenix losing the ability to trade Deandre Ayton and Miami lacking tradeable assets, Toronto might be able to give the Nets a haul.
The Raptors have been steadfast in their desire to keep Barnes, which may or may not lead to them eventually running into trouble in negotiations. With the Rookie of the Year off the table, the odds of the Nets pulling off a trade with the Raptors appear to be shrinking.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported on ESPN’s “Get Up!” that the Nets are unwilling even to discuss a Durant trade with the Raptors unless Barnes is involved. With no indication that Toronto is willing to part with Scottie, this could deal a severe blow to whatever odds the Raptors had of acquiring him.
The Toronto Raptors might not be able to trade for Scottie Barnes.
On top of the fact that Barnes averaged 15.3 points per game in his rookie season and looks like a future All-Star, his salary means that Toronto would need to include most of their key role players to get this KD deal done. Giving up OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr, and Barnes in one swoop would be a miscalculation.
The Raptors would love to become instant title contenders with Durant. Still, pessimistic front office members might take issue with adding an often injured 33-year-old who requested a trade right before a four-year extension was supposed to kick in. Giving up Barnes for that is a bit risky.
There’s reason to believe that Toronto is far away from a deal, as it appears they have communicated to Barnes that he is not for sale. Barnes confirmed on Instagram that he is well aware of Toronto’s hesitancy to flip him to New York City. Breathe a sigh of relief, everyone.
Masai Ujiri should be commended for not completely groveling before Sean Marks to acquire Durant. Toronto is fully aware of what Barnes could become and how lethal he could be if he ends up plying his trade in the division. Keeping and nurturing Scottie is priority No. 1 for this team.