The Toronto Raptors spent large chunks of the 2021-22 offseason trying to pry Kevin Durant away from the jaws of the Brooklyn Nets. Just when it seemed like Durant was adamant about making the Nets get rid of him, all parties involved seemed to have called a truce.
A statement put out by GM Sean Marks claims that Durant is now on the same page with coach Steve Nash and owner Joe Tsai. Amid months of tense contract negotiations that led to dozens of Raptors trade rumors, Durant confirmed that he is staying in Brooklyn.
This is not good news for the Raptors. Missing out on a player of Durant’s stature, coupled with the fact that Toronto now has to watch a potential championship favorite in their own division reveal themselves, is not ideal. However, it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom in Canada.
The Raptors might not be getting Durant, but there are still reasons to come out of today feeling optimistic about Toronto’s season. Even without KD, they should still be on track for a very successful 2021-22 campaign as a result of the infrastructure they refused to gut.
Toronto Raptors: 3 reasons to be positive after Kevin Durant news.
3. A 48-win team is staying together
Any deal for Durant would have required the Raptors to give up half of their rotation in addition to draft control for the next four or five seasons. Toronto would be hard-pressed to blow up everything they have built in order to get one or two more seasons out of Durant.
The Raptors have one of the best starting lineups in the league. Consider that either Gary Trent Jr., a young guard who averaged 18 points per game with solid efficiency, or two-way dynamo OG Anunoby would be viewed as the weak link in that group. This team can win some big games without Durant.
The Toronto Raptors kept their team together.
While some trade-hungry fans compared this situation to that of Kawhi Leonard a few years ago, the main difference is that Durant would have required a much more substantial investment given his contract situation. Toronto would have to be gutted from the top down to get him.
Somehow, it took a lot of convincing for Nick Nurse and Masai Ujiri to sign off on a trade that has the potential to devastate the rotation. Crazy, I know. The Raptors played Brooklyn tough in the regular season last year, and 2022-23 will likely feature more of the same.