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Kevin Durant on the Raptors?!

Amit Mann and Oren Weisfeld discuss what would be too much to give up in a Kevin Durant trade package as the Raptors are one of the few teams linked to the future Hall of Famer. Full episode available on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.

Video Transcript

AMIT MANN: Kevin Durant. I'm going to ask you very, very directly on this. Would you trade Scottie Barnes, in some capacity, for Kevin Durant? Which side are you on that?

OREN WEISFELD: Man, that's a mean way to start off.

AMIT MANN: I know.

OREN WEISFELD: I think-- I think I would.

AMIT MANN: (WHISPERING) Wow.

OREN WEISFELD: But there's a lot of context to this. First of all, if I was to trade Scottie Barnes for KD, I'm not trading Scottie, and OG, and 4 picks, or something like that.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: Like, if it's Scottie, it's a deal based around Scottie Trent to make the money work. Maybe Birch is expiring and, like, not-- maybe, a pic but not much else. And--

AMIT MANN: Mm.

OREN WEISFELD: --I mean, obviously, it's gonna be tough for Raptors fans to hear this I'll also say that-- OK, I'll say it's gonna be tough for Raptors fans to hear that Scottie could be on the table for KD. And I. Don't actually think they would do it.

AMIT MANN: It's tough for me to hear you say that, actually, to be honest.

OREN WEISFELD: I know! But here's the thing, right? It is 4 years of Kevin Durant. And that's what's getting lost in all this, is people will say, well, in two years, he'll just request a trade. Well, he's at the tail end of his prime. And he's a basketball junkie who's not just going to sit out a year because he's a little frustrated. Like, even if Brooklyn doesn't trade him, I guarantee he's gonna play next year. So four years of a top ten player of all time. And I love Scottie and he could be really great. But, I mean, if you're trying to win a Championship, what gives you the best odds of doing it? It's getting KD. If you're just trying to watch enjoyable basketball, and watch guys grow together, and have good vibes--

AMIT MANN: Mm.

OREN WEISFELD: --it's Scottie Barnes, for sure. But I think I would do it if push came to shove and there wasn't that much else involved. But I would feel bad about it.

AMIT MANN: Damn, man, there might be some people want to push you right now for say something like that. Honestly, I can't even do it. I can't even-- I can't put Scottie Barnes on the table, just because, I mean, KD, if this was five years ago, then this is a whole different story. But he's 34 years old. The age is a bit of a factor. I think he's gonna age very, very well. Like, think Dirk Nowitzki, he just has that game. And he's rangy, he's tough, he plays through injuries. I think he was actually injured for most of the season. So when people were doubting his play in that Celtic series, I don't think that was himself. He is still one of, if maybe-- you could argue he is the best player in the NBA right now. You could make that argument.

How long is he gonna be at that level is what I wonder? I mean, we see what LeBron James is doing at this point of his career. And I could see, I mean, again, Kevin Durant being that guy, too. I just think, like, you don't we're seeing what Scottie Barnes is right now. And I think he has potential to be at that level, like, in terms of being a top five player at some point in the NBA, for a very long time. And he is yours, he is your guy. And the idea of getting rid of him-- like, I think if Scottie Barnes were on the table, I think you would probably be, as you said, I don't see OG Anunoby being involved. I don't see Pascal Siakam being involved. That is the prized possession in the trade. It is Scottie Barnes, and it's gonna be a flurry of picks anyways. I mean, if Rudy Gobert was five first, imagine what Kevin Durant's gonna be. It's going to be a lot of picks involved in this trade. And if it's the Raptors involved. it's a three-team trade, the Brooklyn Nets are gonna be getting a lot of picks. We know this.

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah.

AMIT MANN: But Scottie, I just-- I can't-- I can't lose him. He is--

OREN WEISFELD: I think--

AMIT MANN: --he's uncharted territory with what he could become. We don't know.

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah. And that's a fair take. And I kind of have been going back and forth about it. I don't feel good about Scottie at all. And I'll say this, too, like, if there's any other way the Raptors can get KD, I would absolutely explore those ways. Whether it's a package based around OG Trent, and a lot of picks, and a lot of pick swaps, that's, for me, the ideal package. But--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: --I also would prefer to trade Pascal than Scottie. And a lot of people say, well, what's the point of trading Pascal if you're not gonna to have a secondary option, beside KD, if you do that? Well, I think the same people who say that are the ones who don't want to trade Scottie because they're so high on him. So if you believe that, then you believe Scottie is gonna grow into this secondary role within the next two, three years.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: So I'm OK-- like, I would much prefer to trade Pascal than Scottie and kind of just let those guys build it. Because, again, you have four years of KD. It doesn't have to be the first year that you win it.

AMIT MANN: Mm-hmm.

OREN WEISFELD: So Scottie is, like, the last case scenario. But I think if push came to shove, I probably would do it, but I don't feel good about saying that.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. And with everything with the trade like this-- because the Raptors have so many up-and-coming, coveted players who are-- you could just see that they're not players that you're saying they could be good. No, they're going to be good. Gary Trent Junior's gonna be a good player in the NBA. He has his flaws, but he's also like, what, 22, 23. He's gonna get much better. And he's gonna find his role. And he's already, arguably, a 20-points-per-game scorer on a different team, right? Just because he already has that pedigree.

Precious Achiuwa is, again, uncharted territory. What's he gonna be? What's his ceiling? Couldn't tell you, because he's that impressive already at this point in his NBA career. And also, I mean, OG is similar. You just don't know what they're gonna become. And so, I would imagine that any trade that the Raptors do make, they're going to be keeping this in mind. They want to keep their-- they're entering Championship mode. And so, now you're trying to build pieces around Kevin Durant and whoever's going to be still on the team. And so, you have to factor that in.

And also, you should keep in mind that if this trade were to happen in any way, there will be other players interested in becoming Toronto Raptors. Like, the veteran minimum, those are going to be used. And you're gonna find some players for cheap. They're gonna be able to enter your rotation. And you're gonna have a pretty solid top eight in whatever way it's gonna be. So, again, I don't like the idea of trading Scottie. I'm not even sure if I really, really think the Raptors should make a trade for Kevin Durant, to be honest with you. Because it just seems kind of anti-Raptors.

Like, when they made the Kawhi Leonard trade, it made sense. They had a team built around-- they were in Championship mode, right? They were trying to win a Championship. Right now, they are in year two, entering year two, of this new plan. And there's not many people in the NBA who aren't gonna say that Toronto's cooking something really, really good that's gonna be sustainable for a very long time. You make the trade for Kevin Durant, four years are gonna be good. But you could also just, like, opt out of that. And I think most people would say-- I've made jokes about the Raptors winning a Championship next season, just for the hell of it.

But I think 2023, 2024 is the year we're just like, OK, this is the beginning of their window to be true Championship contenders after one more season of seasoning and developing for a few of their main players. So, like, what's the point in doing this? You're a season away from already entering that window. And then, again, you can make the trades, like the Celtics were doing for Malcolm Brogdon, right? Because then you're gonna be ensuring that phase of your plan and you can make those big swings. And so, they could be very, very good already, after, like, next season.

So do you do this? I mean, Kevin Durant's Kevin Durant. He's one of the best players in NBA history. He's gonna be a content producer off the court. He's gonna be an amazing personality for Toronto, and just the idea of Toronto having a player of that caliber, just like with Kawhi, right? But there was always that, like, in the back of your mind, he could leave. We got to impress him. People are, like, shelling out restaurant coupons for him and stuff like that. There was always that possibility that he could go. And then he did.

Kevin Durant's gonna be here for a long time. And I just-- it's really, really tough to-- to make-- to come to terms with this. I'm just going back and forth. I'm watching betting odds all the time because I'm curious what-- and they're always very smart. They're on top of it. And the Raptors right now, the last time I checked, they're third in the pecking order.

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah. I'll just finish by saying like this. I think the Raptors are a big trade away from being Championship contenders. But I think you made a good point. Like, that trade should probably come a year from now.

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: Because if you bring in a KD right now, and say you do it for Pascal, are Scottie, and Precious, and those guys, are they really ready to compete for a Championship with KD next season? I don't think so. I think they need another season to learn the playoff game and like what it really takes to win at the highest level. So I do think it's gonna take a trade. I think it makes a lot of sense that the Raptors are calling. I think we've seen the blueprint that the-- like, free agency is not it. They build their teams around trades, or at least the final pieces.

So I think that trade is coming. But I think, ideally, you can do it for a pick-based package, rather than a Scottie Barnes-based package.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. And, I mean, the Nets, like, they're looking to restock their draft picks going forward. Because everything is owned by the Houston Rockets, and they're just loving all of this, the mess that the Brooklyn Nets are in. And they know that their Draft picks are gonna keep getting better and better as the years go on. But obviously, the Nets are trying to avoid that.

Also, side note, like, I saw so many Raptors fans, just, like freaking out. They're like, oh my God, the Boston Celtics got Malcolm Brogdon. Like, yes, they're going to do stuff like that because their Championship window is now. They are trying to win a Championship. The Raptors are not-- I mean, we'll see what But as far as I know, at this very second, as we do this podcast, they are not trying to win a Championship. Because they haven't made a move for Kevin Durant. They don't have that team. They are in season two of a development plan. So they are not gonna a move or a big swing for a Malcolm Brogdon. There's no point. You're just adding on salary for no reason. And you're taking away reps from some of your core players that need the seasoning to get better so they are ready to be a Championship-caliber rotation piece next season.

So relax, OK? The Celtics can do whatever they want. I mean, it is what it is. Let them do their thing, the Raptors will do their thing. However, if they get Kevin Durant, all bets are off, and it's time to go in a Championship. What if the Raptors are-- what if they're involved in a three-team trade capacity, as in, like-- because they do have all these players and picks at their disposal. And so, perhaps they're using this to get somebody else, right? Because the Phoenix Suns are the odds-on favorite to get Kevin Durant. That's the team that it seems like he wants to go to. But the trade package from the Phoenix Suns, you could argue, isn't perfect, it could be better. What if the Raptors are the team that are helping with that. And then, on the other side, they're getting some kind of piece. Maybe it's a DeAndre Ayton. I really don't know. But maybe that's how they're involved.

OREN WEISFELD: Yeah. We talked about Ayton. And I like him--

AMIT MANN: Yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: --for the Raptors. And that makes sense to me in terms of them getting in on a deal like that, because Ayton can't go to Brooklyn, I think, because the Ben Simmons weird thing. So that makes sense.

AMIT MANN: Yeah. yeah, yeah, yeah.

OREN WEISFELD: There's also Seth Curry, right? Seth Curry would be a great fit on the Raptors, if you could somehow pull him out of Brooklyn, depending on which direction they go in. But, yeah, like back to what you were saying about the Raptors kind of having a little time left here, I think they do want to build something that's sustainable. And that kind of goes against what I said about trading Scottie, is, like, they have the young guys, like the Scotties, and then they have the Fred and the Pascal. And they kind of want to be able to win now, but still sustain some good players to win in the future. And that's more likely than not the way they're gonna to go and keep Scottie Barnes. And, yeah, we'll see if they can get a guy like KD without giving up Scottie.

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