How invested are the Raptors in Kevin Durant trade talks?

Amit Mann and Aaron Rose look at the state of Kevin Durant trade talks and why the Raptors will hesitate to shift off their current stance. Full podcast including takeaways from Summer League is on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Because everyone kind of knows the deal. The Raptors could probably offer one of the more appealing packages, but Scottie Barnes is not on the market. He even said so himself. He's like, yeah, I know I'm not on the market.

I've been told that by the Raptors that I'm not going to be going anywhere. So we know that already. What is the second-best package? What is the third-best package? Where are you with Kevin Durant potentially being a Toronto Raptor? What do you think?

AARON ROSE: I think the Suns chances of getting Kevin Durant took a hit yesterday with the news of the Pacers we're going to offer sheet-- signed an offer sheet for-- or not Myles Turner, excuse me, DeAndre Ayton. And we know Ayton is going back to Phoenix on that offer sheet, but now he can't be traded without his consent for a year and can't be traded, regardless of his consent, until January 15.

So they can't trade him this summer. And that makes the package for Durant a little bit more complicated. You can throw in Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and make something there, and they have their draft picks to do it. But that package is looking a lot less appealing than it did a few weeks ago when we were thinking maybe they could sign and trade Ayton, throw in Bridges, a couple of picks, and get it done.

Which makes the chances of Toronto being able to pull off an offer a lot more realistic, I think. That being said, I still don't think it happens. And I feel like I've been a wet blanket on trade talks all summer. But I go back to what Masai Ujiri said at his season-ending press conference, which was we have a young core.

We want to be patient. We're going to let this group grow. And the core is the core. Now, when he said that, he probably wasn't picturing Kevin Durant becoming available. But still, you would have to-- just to make the salaries match, you have to give up a lot of quality players, valuable players just to make the financials work.

So we talked about a Scottie Barnes trade-- that probably won't happen. And you'd have to throw in more to that to make it happen. Now, you're talking about moving Pascal Siakam and maybe another piece and future picks. We know Masai Ujiri has never traded away multiple first round picks in a deal. You'd have to do that for Durant. And now you're talking about moving away two valuable pieces.

And you have to make sure that if you're trading for Kevin Durant, you still have a team to put around Kevin Durant that can contend for a championship. And that's my big question. If they move heaven and Earth to get Kevin Durant, do they still have a championship group? And I'm skeptical they still will.

AMIT MANN: Yeah, for Kevin Durant, a team probably has to trade, in terms of salary, $35.2 million. That's kind of around the number that it has to be. And the Raptors, they can get there in a lot of different ways. And that's something that the Suns, they don't have that kind of flexibility.

However, as you talked about, Pascal Siakam, if you do acquire Kevin Durant, you need Pascal Siakam on your team, because now you're all of a sudden you're escalating your timeline. You want to be a championship team. And he's already proven to be a number two option. And he could potentially be a number one.

It seems like he's taking this offseason very seriously. Nick Nurse was quoted saying that when he talked to the Pascal a weeks ago that he said, I'm taking another step, which you love to hear. And I have no doubt-- I have no reason to believe that Pascal won't take that step. But you need Pascal.

And so Scottie Barnes, potentially, well, he's off the market. Pascal Siakam you need. What's after that? Then it's probably OG Anunoby, it's Gary Trent, Jr., who will be a free agent, or at least have a player option after next season, which he will surely opt out of. It's picks. It's a package that the Raptors could offer. But I mean, I still hesitate to do it.

Like, Kevin Durant is a lot less appealing to me these days. Initially when it happened, I was like, oh, that's interesting because he's Kevin freaking Durant. You really considered that. But then you think about the Raptors where they are, the pieces that they have-- I think they are going to get to a tipping point with some of these players where they can't keep all of them because they're going to get way too expensive. And so maybe they do make a splash.

Typically when it comes to free agents and these superstar players, it's like-- players like Gary Trent, Jr., guys like OG Anunoby who have, like, a lot of upside, or at least, I mean, OG has more upside than Gary Trent, Jr.-- we can talk about that on a different day, maybe on a preview podcast for next season. But it's players like that, and then it's draft picks.

And you just have to make a decision at some point, like, who are you going to decide that you're going to trade away for that superstar player because you're entering your championship window? And it's a really weird time for Kevin Durant to enter the trade market. I think that's kind of what we're getting at. Because even, like, a team like the Pelicans, they could make a trade. They could make it happen.

But they also don't know what they have yet, because Zion Williamson is, like, this person who's been orbiting around them saying, I'm going to come back at some point. And he just, obviously, signed a max extension. So you want to see what you have with Ingram, and CJ McCollum, and Zion Williamson.

And then Memphis Grizzlies-- another team that could make a trade if they wanted to, but they got a lot of pieces they probably want to figure out too. They don't want to trade Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson. They want to see what they have. So KD is in a weird spot. You know, he's so valuable, he's so good. He could potentially be, like, the leading scorer next season.

But his value right now is a little bit off. And also, I think the Nets kind of overplayed their hand a little bit.

AARON ROSE: Yeah, I just think that when I'm looking at raptor's packages, it's like, you have to include Scottie Barnes, you have to include Pascal Siakam because we're talking about Kevin Durant here, one of the best players in the league. But at the same time, people are talking about OG Anunoby and Gary Trent, Jr. as a realistic package. To me, that's not nearly enough.

But it's also the most the Raptors could give up while still being able to retain something like a championship contention group around Kevin Durant. So to me, the two sides just don't match that well. The Raptors, while they do have all the assets, all the first round picks, all the young players to go after him, it doesn't match up where you have a championship contention or you're giving up to me, what's the package that Kevin Durant deserves?

If you could lowball them and send them something that is way under what I have as a projected value, which is a top tier player and multiple picks, sure, you can do it. But I think Kevin Durant is still one of the best players in the world. And if you're going to make a realistic package, especially if we hear that the Nets are looking for a monumental package-- they asked the Timberwolves for Karl-Anthony Towns and Ant-Man--

AMIT MANN: That's crazy. That's crazy.

AARON ROSE: They want heaven and Earth. And I just don't think you see the Raptors as a team that's going to do that.

AMIT MANN: Hey, man, shoot your shot, right? Ask for the world and see what comes back. And OG Anunoby, he's been in so many rumors-- how valuable or how truthful were those rumors, I'm not really sure. He was in there with Rudy Gobert, he was in there with the Portland Trail Blazers.

I think-- I mean, and this is why his name keeps on coming up, is because he is so valuable these days. Like, he is so in demand-- a player that can defend 1 to 5 in some cases, who can defend multiple positions, who can shoot the three. And he's got a lot of he's got a lot of offensive upside, he's under contract for two more years, and one of the most generous contracts these days-- $18 million a year for OG Anunoby.

That is a deal, a bargain, for what he's able to offer. And you think about what he could become next season, the year after-- man, like, he's going to be a valuable player in the NBA for years to come. And the Raptors, them being, like, I'm not going to trade him unless I really, really, really think that I'm going to be getting a person back who is going to help us get into a championship window.

And Kevin Durant fits that. I also think that Masai likes his people, right? He's very loyal to his guys. And he said time and time again that I want to give Fred, and Pascal, and OG a chance. I want to give him a chance to make something. I want to see them grow.

And he gave the same chance to Kyle Lowry, and DeMar DeRozan, and Dwane Casey-- obviously, there was a tipping point with that. Hello, Kawhi Leonard. But I think he wants to give them a shot. And next season, considering how funky this past season was and all the moving parts, all the injuries-- if they were just healthy for the full year, I think they could have potentially been a top four seed, right? And if they're healthy next season, you have some better injury luck, you have a full season of Pascal Siakam, who knows, man?

Who knows how high they can go. I see some projections saying that they will be a five-seed. There's, like, Miami, and Philly, and the Milwaukee Bucks, like, those are the teams-- and Boston, obviously. Those are the teams that are in the upper echelon. OK, but it only takes like one injury for a team to all of a sudden go down out of that top tier.

The Raptors go in, things change a lot. I'm starting to think that this trade doesn't happen for the Raptors.

AARON ROSE: Yeah. It's not about I think that Masai Ujiri thinks this way or whatever-- he told us these things. He told us that he wanted to see this group. And again, as you mentioned, this isn't like the team that went out and traded for Kawhi Leonard that Masai knew that was a veteran group, that team had a ton of depth, and he had seen them bump their heads over and over again against the LeBron James ceiling.

He doesn't know how good this team is. And the other thing is, as we talked about, this team has some depth, but I call it weird depth. They don't have a ton of depth where they're bringing Fred VanVleet off the bench, and Norman Powell off the bench, and Serge Ibaka off the bench.

They don't have those kinds of players where Jakob Poeltl is your third center, where you can condense a bunch of your depth and turn it into a superstar. So right now, I'm sticking with what Masai Ujiri said in his season-ending press conference and saying, I don't think the Raptors are going to make a big trade this year.

We can talk about some other options, but I'm probably just going to throw a damp towel on all of it because I think that's what Masai-- or that is what Masai said, and I'm just holding him to his word.