Few rookies can perform at a high level and showcase the ability to become superstars in their first season in the NBA. Thankfully for the Toronto Raptors, Scottie Barnes has turned out to be one of the rare few. Barnes was seen as a risky pick in the 2021 NBA draft, but he turned out to be an extremely promising player, one that the Raptors could potentially build around.
A few things changed during the offseason, though. There are a couple of superstars that have suddenly become available in trade. The Brooklyn Nets and the Utah Jazz both had obvious issues last season, but few could have predicted that the franchises might blow up entirely. Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell have become the hottest names on the trade market, with many interested suitors.
The Raptors have been linked repeatedly with Durant, they are among the teams most expected to make a move for him. But the main obstacle so far seems to be that they don't want to give up Barnes in the transaction, which the Nets are seemingly angling for. And Tim MacMahon recently revealed on the Hoop Collective podcast that an NBA executive he spoke to revealed that he would move Barnes for the right superstar.
“An executive who I respect said he would give up Scottie Barnes for KD — not for Donovan Mitchell, but for KD."
Mitchell is not at the level that Kevin Durant is, this goes without saying. However, he is still a perennial All-Star. So the only question is what the Raptors think Barnes' ceiling is because unless they believe he can reach that level, a trade can be considered.
Ultimately, the asking prices for both Durant and Mitchell are bordering on the absurd if reports are to be believed. The Nets and the Jazz are holding out for huge hauls for the two, and even if the Raptors agree to part ways with Barnes, it might not be enough for either star. It's certainly an interesting situation to keep an eye on.