After ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggested on Friday that Toronto is “lurking” as a team to watch in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca writes today that the Raptors believe they can put together the best package for Durant that the nets are likely to receive.
Grange describes the Raptors as “optimistic” rather than “confident,” noting that there’s a sense Durant is at least open to the idea of playing in Toronto, even if the team is not atop his wish list.
However, Grange cautions that the Nets may not agree with the Raptors’ assessment that they can offer the best package for Durant. Additionally, Grange’s story suggests Toronto has remained opposed to making reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes available so far.
While the Raptors have all their future draft picks and have several solid veterans on good contracts – including All-Stars Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakamas well as MV Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. – it’s unclear if they’d be able to make a deal for Durant without putting Barnes on the table.
“That’s the billion-dollar question,” one source said to Grange.
Here’s more on Durant:
- In the latest episode of ESPN’s Hoop Collective podcast (video link), Tim Bontemps said he believes “Toronto thinks it’s in the game” in the Durant sweepstakes, while Brian Windhorst said he still considers the suns the favorites, since it’s rare for superstar players not to end up where they want to go.
- Windhorst (video link) has heard that the pelicans view head coach Willie Green – an assistant in Golden State during Durant’s Warriors years – as an asset in the chase for the former MVP. As Windhorst explains, the hope would be that if the Nets like what the Pelicans have to offer, Green would get the opportunity to sell Durant on New Orleans.
- With New Orleans being mentioned as a possible Durant landing spot, Scott Kushner of NOLA.com wonders whether or not the pelicans should seriously pursue the 34-year-old.
- Within his latest look at the Durant situation, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype confirms that the Nets would want more than Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges in a trade with the suns and says that any heat package built around Tyler Herro “wouldn’t scratch the surface of what the Nets want.”
- Brooklyn is seeking teams’ best assets, Scotto writes, including All-Stars, rising young players, and “substantial” unprotected draft picks and swaps.