Even though the prospect of a Kevin Durant trade is looking less likely by the day, the Toronto Raptors are keeping their feelers extended. The sticking point in trade negotiations may end up being reigning Rookie of the Year and Raptors fan favorite Scottie Barnes, who has long been considered an immovable piece of the club’s future.
The Raptors have been unwilling to entertain any trade offer that includes Barnes, as he is too valuable to their long-term plan. However, considering that the Nets turned down a Boston Celtics trade offer that would have sent Jaylen Brown to Brooklyn, Sean Marks is still keeping his price astronomically high.
The Raptors can offer names like Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby to the Nets, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Brooklyn is not going to cave and lower their asking price to facilitate a deal. Per the latest buzz, the Nets are still trying to pry Barnes away from Toronto.
According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Nets are still “angling” for Barnes as they conduct trade discussions with Toronto. The Raptors should not budge on their insistence to keep Scottie, even if it means potentially letting the Durant megadeal start to disintegrate.
The Nets want to acquire Scottie Barnes from the Toronto Raptors.
With Kyrie Irving reportedly committed to playing for the Nets with or without Durant, Brooklyn will likely have a somewhat competitive team next year. Giving away Anunoby, Trent, and Barnes, all of whom are under 26 and have All-Star potential, would jump-start Brooklyn’s retooling.
Barnes’ best basketball is clearly in the windshield, and he still managed to win Rookie of the Year despite coming into the year as a somewhat raw offensive player. It’s clear that he’ll contend for All-Star games regularly if he manages to get his 3-point game fixed up.
With Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam both getting a bit long in the tooth, Barnes is going to be the centerpiece around which Toronto builds their next half-decade of basketball. Destroying that plan to benefit the Nets helps the Raptors not one iota unless Durant is at his OKC prime.
Barnes is the maypole around which Toronto’s future rests. Including him in trades in such a flippant manner could come back to bite Toronto in the putt. Hopefully, Masai Ujiri has enough foresight to recognize that caving to Sean Marks is the wrong thing to do.