We’ve seen a few dominoes fall already this NBA offseason, but there’s still one massive blockbuster expected to come in the next few weeks. With Kyrie Irving being given permission to shop for a new team, a Kevin Durant trade will likely follow soon after.
With Durantula on the trade block, nearly every team in basketball is expected to reach out to the Nets at least on a surface level to gauge the trade cost. One of those teams, is expected to be the Toronto Raptors, who Adrian Wojnarowski noted as a team that’s “lurking” for Durant. And Michael Grange noted the Raptors “feel they can put together the best package for Durant“.
So let’s look at what a potential Kevin Durant trade to the Raptors could look like. But first, explaining why the Raptors shouldn’t be overlooked as the hunt for Durant heats up.
Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors have experience at blockbuster
It’s not just about the fact that Kevin Durant is a top-20 NBA player, which should cause every team in the league to have some interest in making him the new face of their franchise. For the Raptors, and president/general manager Masai Ujiri, making a blockbuster trade isn’t something they’re afraid to do, and they have a history of doing so.
Back in 2018, Ujiri made the decision to trade DeMar DeRozan, a fan favorite, for Kawhi Leonard, with a strong understanding that Leonard might just leave in free agency at the end of the year anyway. Which is exactly what happened, but not before the Raptors won the first NBA Championship in franchise history.
Basically, if Ujiri and Co. feel the Raptors are just a Kevin Durant away, he won’t hesitate to put together the best trade package needed to get a deal done.
Toronto Raptors Kevin Durant trade package
- Raptors get: Kevin Durant
- Nets get: Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent, three unprotected future first round picks
For those expecting any team to have to part with like six first round picks to land Durant, chances are, that won’t be happening. But it all depends on what offers the Nets are getting for Irving as well. Not to mention the possibility of adding a player such as Deandre Ayton in free agency.
Basically, even though Durant and Irving may be headed out the door, the Nets could reasonably still field a roster that’s built to contend for a playoff spot right away.
If the Raptors emerge as a finalist in the Durant trade sweepstakes, I wouldn’t expect Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes to be included. Instead, I think a package built around Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. could get it done, as long as there are additional first-round picks included.
While it all depends on what/whom the Nets are seeking, as only they know how their roster may be shaping up behind the scenes as Irving deals and free agency signing are kicked around internally. It’s possible the Raptors are faced with trading one or two of: Scottie Barnes, Fred VanVleet, or Pascal Siakam.
Since Durant isn’t a point guard, and the Raptors likely aren’t ready to hand the keys to the offense to Malachi Flynn, VanVleet may be off the table. And as mentioned, Barnes may be the only true untouchable piece on the roster, depending on how the front office feels about his ceiling.
The Raptors have decent depth at the position, whether it’s Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa, or Khem Birch, so that leaves Siakam as the most likely to go. With Durant and Trent playing the same position, he also becomes expendable.
Since Siakam is at the top of his game, as a one-time All-Star, including him is a strong starting point. Yet, he’s already 28, so he’s not going to improve at this stage. Ditto for the 33-year-old Durant.
For the Nets, getting Siakam back wouldn’t be enough to build a roster around, but in an ideal world, he fits the new-look roster after the Irving trade is made. The additional first round picks may not match what the Utah Jazz got for Rudy Gobert, but the Raptors are also including much better players in the trade, even if Durant is more valuable than Gobert.
Is a trade package of Siakam, Trent and three future firsts enough to beat out all other contestants for Durant? Probably not, which means the Raptors might have to kick in an additional pick, or even alter their offer, whether that means including Anunoby or possibly even Barnes. There’s no telling just how high the price can go, especially when a team zeroes in on their top target, like we saw with the Gobert trade. Will that end with another astronomical trade price for Durant? Probably, but guessing that exact cost is a mess.