The Toronto Raptors have been linked to more big names in trade rumors than they usually are, as they’ve continued to strongarm the Brooklyn Nets into trading Kevin Durant to them. Durant reiterated his trade request to owner Joe Tsai unless he makes sweeping organizational changes and cans both Steve Nash and Sean Marks.
The Raptors appear to be at a standstill in talks with the Nets. Toronto is unwilling to consider any offer in which they are parting ways with Scottie Barnes, but the Florida State star is the asset the Nets desire above all else. Due to such a high asking price, Durant has not been moved.
Some of the teams who have been trying for Durant’s services include the defending champion Celtics and the consistently aggressive 76ers. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, an exciting young team in the Western Conference is also in the mix.
Charania is reporting that the Memphis Grizzlies have joined the fray and made legitimate inquiries into Durant’s availability. With a team ready for contention and plenty of young players who could help facilitate a move, Memphis could be a serious threat to Toronto in the great Durant chase.
Will the Toronto Raptors lose Kevin Durant to the Grizzlies?
Taylor Jenkins’ crew, fresh off finishing second in the Western Conference, is led by a proven star guard in Ja Morant. Still, their strength comes in numbers, as their rotation can go ten players deep at any time. Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. are all above-average starters.
A trade with Brooklyn will likely feature two of that trio and around four or five first-round draft picks. If Memphis is willing to part with chunks of their infrastructure (which they have not been so far), a Raptors that has shown more caution and trepidation might get kicked to the back of the proverbial line.
With Jackson an established veteran and their young star in Morant already locked in on a five-year max contract, Memphis is more ready to compete for a championship from both a talent and fiscal point of view. At the very least, Durant going to the Grizzlies would mean he is out of the Atlantic Division.
The Raptors should not give in and offer either Barnes or Pascal Siakam in talks with the Nets. It has the potential to be catastrophic if Durant’s injuries catch up to him. Even with that caveat, Toronto needs to be fully aware of the fact that teams like the Grizzlies have a desirable cabinet of assets Brooklyn would love to plunder.