The Toronto Raptors, usually ones who are content to sit out of the usual offseason trade buzz, have found themselves connected to names like Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell in the last few weeks. Given the trajectory of the franchise, it’s easy to see why.
Toronto has its long-term core in Scottie Barnes, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam set in stone, but they could use a superstar to help shift the balance of power in the East. Toronto is snooping around both of these big names, but they aren’t the only ones who are interested.
Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Boston Celtics, who reportedly have made Jaylen Brown available in trade talks, have joined the Raptors and Heat in the negotiations for Durant. A trade remains unlikely, but it appears as though the Raptors have new competition at the front of the pack.
Interestingly, Charania also reported that Toronto is going after Mitchell. While a trade to the Knicks has been reportedly in the works for some time now, teams like the Wizards, Heat, Hornets, Kings, and Hawks have all reportedly contacted Utah and inquired about Mitchell.
The Toronto Raptors want Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell
Of these two, Mitchell is the more likely to be moved. Not only is Durant clearly the superior player, but rumors of the Nets turning down a Boston package headlined by Brown show that Brooklyn is not going to accept anything less than an unprecedented haul for KD.
While Mitchell’s defense and inability to get Utah over the hump in the postseason have come under fire in the last few seasons, but he remains one of the unquestioned best perimeter scorers in the league. It doesn’t take a genius to see how Nick Nurse would get the most out of him.
With the Rudy Gobert trade netting Utah multiple players and four first-round picks, the Jazz seem content to just sit back and wait for a team to meet their lofty price. With Toronto already a bit skittish about mortgaging the future for Durant, doing so for Mitchell seems unlikely.
The Raptors seem to be aware that they are just one or two big moves away from becoming a championship contender, and getting either Durant or Mitchell would certainly check that box. They will need to beat out several rivals to land either one of them.