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The perfect trade Raptors must offer Nets for Kevin Durant

Raptors, Kevin Durant, Fred VanVleet

Four years ago, the Toronto Raptors shocked the NBA world by trading for disgruntled San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard. Toronto wasn’t really seen as a contender for Kawhi prior to that move. However, in the span of mere hours, Masai Ujiri flipped DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poetl, and a first-round pick for Leonard. The rest is history: Kawhi’s heroics eventually led to Toronto’s first championship in franchise history.

Now, the Raptors are in prime position to make the same move again. Kevin Durant has requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets. Toronto is being reported as a dark horse for the star. Do they have the assets to make a strong offer to the Nets for the unhappy star? Let’s look at the perfect trade scenario for them if they want to make this trade.

The perfect trade Raptors must offer Nets for Kevin Durant

Raptors get: Kevin Durant

Nets get: OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, 2023 SRP, 2024 FRP, 2026 FRP, 2028 FRP

The Raptors actually are in the perfect position to offer the Nets a great deal regardless of their future goals. This trade assumes that the Nets are heading into a full-scale rebuild by trading away Durant and Irving for young players and picks.

The Raptors trading for Kevin Durant actually has a few differences from the situation with Kawhi Leonard. For one, KD has indicated that he’d like to play for them in the past. He has said before that he would’ve liked to play for Toronto, since he grew up a fan of the team. If they do acquire him, there’s less risk that he’d pull an Alonzo Mourning and refuse to play.

The benefits of this trade are pretty obvious for the Raptors: it instantly catapults them to title contender status. Despite tearing his Achilles, KD is still one of the best offensive forces in the league. Pairing him with two All-Star caliber players in Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam makes them a dangerous team to face in the East.

Remember, Siakam benefitted greatly from the presence of Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 playoffs. He’s developed as a bona-fide first option since then, but having KD on the team opens up more opportunities for Siakam to feast again. The same goes for Fred VanVleet, who has struggled at times with the extra defensive attention on him.

The added benefit of this trade for the Raptors is that it doesn’t give away the best players in their rotation. Durant has been adamant that he doesn’t want to go to a team to be just the lone star (see: his desire to play with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Kyle Lowry in Miami). With this trade, Toronto can still field a competitive team with KD.

As for the Nets, they are getting the best player of the 2022 draft class in Scottie Barnes to jump-start their rebuild. Barnes looked phenomenal in his first season in Toronto, as he was able to do nearly everything on the court at a high level. If the Nets want to start their rebuild, Barnes would be perfect for them.

OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. are no slouches either. Both players are hyperactive defenders who can shoot the ball well and create their own shots occasionally. The three first round picks and the second round pick only serve to sweeten the deal even further.

Of course, it will hurt to trade Barnes one year into his career, especially after his promising rookie year. However, players of Kevin Durant’s caliber don’t become available often. If you have a chance at acquiring a top-10 player in the league, you do whatever it takes to get him, no matter the cost.

Will Masai Ujiri pull the trigger on a deal for Kevin Durant? It’s hard to tell. The Raptors general manager has been building an interesting roster full of lanky wings. It seems preposterous that he’ll tear it down the roster he painstakingly built all to get a superstar coming off a major injury. And yet… he’s done that exact same thing before.

The ball is in Ujiri’s court now. Will he make another huge risk and trade for Kevin Durant?