The Toronto Raptors are still in a position to acquire Kevin Durant if Masai Ujiri is willing to sell off such a large part of the future. However, talks have hit a snag due to the Raptors being unwilling to discuss any trade as soon as Scottie Barnes’ name is mentioned by Sean Marks.
The Raptors have been reluctant to trade Barnes in Durant talks, and the latest buzz seems to suggest that the Nets view Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown as the type of player that they would like to acquire in their return package. Short of suddenly discussing Fred VanVleet, the Raptors seem to be at an impasse.
The hopes of a deal may indeed hinge on the Raptors being willing to discuss Barnes in trade talks. While this would be a bad move from Toronto’s point of view, that hasn’t stopped some executives from around the league from getting their overly rash two cents about the situation.
On Brian Windshort’s “Hoop Collective” podcast, the titular host reported that one NBA executive would include Barnes in talks for Durant. That same executive would not trade him in exchange for Donovan Mitchell, showing that the original source has an IQ somewhere above 15.
The Toronto Raptors shouldn’t trade Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant.
While Durant would undoubtedly be the addition the Raptors need to take them over the top in the short-term, they would be sacrificing their best long-term asset in this scenario. Durant is a top-five player currently, but he comes with some significant risks that need to be considered.
Not only will Durant be eating up most of the salary cap in his mid-30s for a franchise that loves to be financially flexible, but he will be doing so while remaining a massive injury risk. Barnes, fresh off a Rookie of the Year season, offers no such nervousness.
Barnes came into the league raw and without a defined position, yet was a double-double machine and promising defender. Giving up Barnes or Pascal Siakam, especially to a rival within the division, would be more like rearranging the deck chairs instead of a concrete plan to improve the roster.
While the odds of Barnes becoming as good of a player as Durant are slim despite his athletic gifts, Scottie still profiles as a future All-Star around whom the Raptors can build for the next decade. Giving up on him to acquire Durant might be too aggressive for even a cavalier executive like Ujiri to consider.