Raptors: Pros and Cons of trading Fred VanVleet for Kevin Durant

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 07: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets drives on Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 07: Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets drives on Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors, Fred VanVleet
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – APRIL 18: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors will once again try to prove that they are serious contenders for the services of Kevin Durant. Bringing the disgruntled Brooklyn Nets star to Canada would not only deprive their division rivals of the chance to acquire him, but it would create a big four of KD, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and Fred VanVleet.

Talks slowed to a crawl amid speculation that Masai Ujiri did not want to include Barnes in trade talks. If an offer that comprises most of Toronto’s top tertiary scoring options and a heaping of draft picks doesn’t interest Sean Marks, VanVleet needs to be discussed as a trade chip.

Including VanVleet in trade discussions is something the Raptors may need to consider. With Siakam not going anywhere and Barnes an immutable part of the future, the biggest needle-mover with a non-zero chance of getting traded is the All-Star point guard.

VanVleet might be a critical piece in trade talks. Including him in the discussion could be the key to securing a Durant trade, just as much as excluding him from talks could lead the Nets to completely disregard Toronto as a Durant landing spot. Will the Raptors go through with such a massive move?

Toronto Raptors: Will Fred VanVleet be traded for Kevin Durant?


The Raptors will need to sign VanVleet to an extension in the next few years, meaning they could ditch a player who could leave in free agency for one of the best in the game. Turning one or two years of VanVleet into four seasons of elite Durant production is a trade I’d sign up for.

The Raptors have been teasing their desire to really lean into the Scottie Barnes at point guard experiment. Unleashing a lineup with Barnes at point guard, Siakam and Precious Achiuwa in the frontcourt, and Durant on the wing would be a nightmare to defend properly.

Can the Toronto Raptors survive without Fred VanVleet?

The Celtics and 76ers are reportedly trying to get Brooklyn to part with Durant. Names like Jaylen Brown and Tobias Harris are assuredly being thrown around. The Raptors need to come strong in order to remain in these talks, and a VanVleet/Kyrie Irving backcourt would rank among the league’s best.

Seeing VanVleet in black and white would be a complete gut punch, as the Raptors would be parting with a 905 success story and sending one of the most unlikely success stories in club history. However, given the fact that Durant could be the return, this is a move that simply needs to be done.