The Toronto Raptors are a franchise that is well-regarded in many aspects. They are outstanding at player development and have developed multiple late first-round or undrafted players into becoming All-Stars, such as Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet. However, they have lacked a superstar on their roster ever since Kawhi Leonard left the team, and it is clear that they won't be genuine contenders until they get that transcendent superstar.
Kevin Durant is a superstar that is on the trade market right now, and the Toronto Raptors reportedly believe that they have the best package for him. In this article, we try to imagine what that trade package would look like. Here is our trade scenario that would send Kevin Durant to the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto Raptors Receive: Kevin Durant, 2028 First-Round Pick Swap (Favoring Nets)
Brooklyn Nets Receive: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch, Malachi Flynn, 2023 First-Round Pick, 2025 First-Round Pick, 2027 First-Round Pick, 2029 First-Round Pick, 2028 First-Round Pick Swap (Favoring Nets)
The Toronto Raptors Get Their Franchise Superstar
It is common knowledge that championships are won by superstars. Almost every team that wins a championship has a top-10 player on the roster. With this trade, the Toronto Raptors would get their franchise superstar in Kevin Durant, while retaining key players that will help them compete for a championship.
The Toronto Raptors were a solid playoff team this year, but it was clear that they were missing a shot creation element on their roster. This trade would give them Kevin Durant, who is arguably the best isolation creator in the league. The Raptors already have a supporting cast that is championship-caliber: having Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet who have both been All-Stars as your No. 2 and No. 3 options is perfect, and they'd still retain good role players like OG Anunoby in this trade scenario. Kevin Durant would be walking into the perfect situation.
Giving up Gary Trent Jr. and Scottie Barnes is definitely a tough ask. Scottie Barnes won the Rookie of the Year award, and definitely has a sky-high ceiling, while Gary Trent Jr. is a fantastic microwave scorer who is only 23 years old and will only get better. The Raptors would also have to give up a lot of draft compensation in this deal: four unprotected first-round picks, along with a pick swap in the 2028 season. That is an immense package for any player.
With that being said, taking a risk on a superstar like Kevin Durant is worth it for a franchise like the Toronto Raptors, which struggles with attracting superstars in free agency. They would also have him on a four-year deal, which means that they would get multiple chances at contention. If the Raptors land Kevin Durant, they will immediately become one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, and maybe they could even win a championship.
The Brooklyn Nets Get A Package Headlined By ROTY Scottie Barnes
Generally, teams never get a fair return when trading a superstar-caliber player, as it is hard to replace that player's impact. However, there are packages that could definitely give the Brooklyn Nets a solid return, and this is one of those packages.
Scottie Barnes headlines this trade package, and for good reason. Barnes is already a solid defensive forward that can guard multiple positions, and he averaged 15.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 3.5 APG this year. There is no question that Scottie Barnes has shown flashes that suggest he could be a top-tier player in the future. Gary Trent Jr. would be the other key player in the package, and he is already a fantastic perimeter defender that can also get hot from deep to score at a high level. Precious Achiuwa has shown promise as a stretch big man, shooting 35.9% from beyond the arc this season. Khem Birch's contract would be in this deal for salary-matching purposes, and Malachi Flynn would be a project that the Nets could develop.
When you add the players involved to the draft compensation being given, this is a hefty return for the Brooklyn Nets. They would have multiple players that could contribute immediately, and if they keep Ben Simmons on the roster, they could become an elite defensive team.
It remains to be seen if the Toronto Raptors do take the dive and come to an agreement with the Brooklyn Nets on a trade for Kevin Durant. It is quite clear that Durant is the caliber of player that it is worth making a risk for, and thus, it is understandable that the Brooklyn Nets want a lot in return for him. The Toronto Raptors have one of the best possible packages for the Brooklyn Nets in a Kevin Durant trade, and the Nets should definitely accept an offer from the Raptors if the priority is getting a lot of solid players and picks in return for Durant.
The Raptors Can Offer The Nets What They Want
The Toronto Raptors have multiple capable players that they can offer in a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, players that could help them avoid a tank while also being young enough to be part of the Nets teams of the future.
Scottie Barnes is definitely a tough player to lose, but when getting a top-5 player like Kevin Durant for the Toronto Raptors, all options should be on the table. The potential of getting a championship would be worth it for the Toronto Raptors, but we'll have to wait to see how this situation unfolds.