Scottie Barnes and the Toronto Raptors have been connected to some of the biggest names in the league via trade rumors over the last two offseasons. Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard were Photoshopped into Raptors jerseys quite frequently last season, yet no trade ever materialized.
GMs will naturally try to aim high at the beginning of negotiations, trying to see if Masai Ujiri would eventually part ways with the former No. 4 overall pick. To his credit, Ujiri has remained steadfast in his refusal to give Barnes away for a risky move that could blow up in his face.
In Zach Lowe’s NBA “watchability” rankings, ESPN confirmed that Toronto held Barnes in such high regard that he was never on the table in trades for Durant or Lillard. The third-year dynamo Barnes is viewed as “off limits” by Ujiri and the front office.
After flatlining on the offensive end of the floor last season, Barnes will need to take a huge step forward to reward Toronto’s belief in him as a franchise player. He could be in for a step in the right direction now that he has an offensive-minded coach in Darko Rajakovic.
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- In those watchability rankings, the Raptors came in as the third-worst team in the NBA, with only the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons beneath him. The factors used to be interest level among casual fans, schematic strategy, highlight potential, cool League Pass draws, and what he deems “unintentional comedy.”
- Gary Trent Jr. seems resigned to the idea that he is going to come off the bench while Dennis Schroder starts. To his credit, he doesn’t seem too perturbed about it. “I have no control over that,” Trent said. “I can only control me coming in, working, being a great teammate, and contribute to winning. That’s all I can help with.”
- The Houston Rockets tarded point guard Kevin Porter Jr, who is currently accused of assault and strangulation, to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will waive him immediately. The Thunder acquired two second-round picks while also trading away Victor Oladipo and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to complete the deal.
- Many have jumped off the Dallas Mavericks bandwagon due to the questionable fit between Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, but Shaquille O’Neal is not one of them. Shaq picked the Mavericks to take home the NBA championship over favorites like Milwaukee, Phoenix, and Denver.
Will Barnes help the Raptors be a more watchable team?