The Toronto Raptors have the pieces to get Kevin Durant, the question is: Do they want to?
Looking around the league, there really aren't very many teams in a position to swing a blockbuster-type deal with the Brooklyn Nets for their disgruntled all-world superstar. The favorites remain the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat, though trade packages are a little difficult to cobble together, especially for Miami who can't trade Bam Adebayo to the Nets as long as Brooklyn retains Ben Simmons, due to an unusual quirk in NBA rules that prohibit players from rostering multiple players on max rookie scale extension who have been acquired via trade.
"I think both teams, individually may not have enough to do a deal with Brooklyn without being able to go out and move some pieces around in three-player, four-player trades," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said.
If Brooklyn isn't interested in a Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges package or a Tyler Herro-based deal, Toronto's chances of landing Durant would seemingly look much better. It's unclear exactly what the Raptors would be willing to part with but, as Sportsnet's Michael Grange reported, the organization thinks it can "put together the best package of assets the Brooklyn Nets are likely to get."
Toronto's most intriguing offer would certainly include Scottie Barnes, the 20-year-old reigning Rookie of the Year and one of the most valuable young players in the league. The problem with moving Barnes is his rookie contract means he's not making anywhere close to the $43 million Durant is set to earn next season. Toronto would therefore be forced to add in other valuable players just to make a legal trade.
Alternatively, the Raptors could offer a Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby-based package, centered around a more established player and, likely, another piece or two from the core. Toronto also is one of the few contending teams with its full allotment of future first-round picks, meaning the Raptors could overwhelm Brooklyn with as many draft picks and swaps as anyone in the league.
Will Toronto do it?
The chances seem unlikely. Raptors president Masai Ujiri preached patience during his season-ending media availability, insisting Toronto stay the course with its young core and develop internally.
"When you have young players, I think we have to always be patient," he said.
This is the Ujiri playbook. He and the Raptors like to stay flexible, lurking for the moment the perfect opportunity presents itself. Durant may be the time to pounce, but don't be surprised if Toronto sits this round out, waiting for next season when another star player asks to be traded and the Raptors then decide the time is right to make their big move.