Don't rule out the Toronto Raptors in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.
The Raptors are "lurking" for Durant following his trade request from the Brooklyn Nets, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday on the NBA Today free agency special.
"I think a team that's lurking and is going to lurk in this is Toronto. They have all the kinds of pieces that you would want and their picks to do a deal for Kevin Durant and they have an organization, a leader in Masai Ujiri who, certainly you saw the chance he took on Kawhi Leonard with one year left on his deal. How far are the Raptors willing to go in an offer to Brooklyn?"
It's no surprise the Raptors are considered a landing spot for Durant as they have a treasure trove of assets to offer Brooklyn in return for the superstar.
Scottie Barnes is one of the most valuable young players in the NBA and would probably have to be on the table in a Durant package. The 2021 fourth overall pick averaged 15.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals during his rookie season and won the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year award.
In addition, the Raptors boast a roster that includes OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Precious Achiuwa, all of whom could possibly be included in trade discussions.
The Raptors also currently have a first-round pick available for trade in each draft through 2029, so there's no question they have enough ammunition to make a run for the two-time NBA champion.
That said, Ujiri told reporters during his end of season media availability that the Raptors would continue to develop during the 2022-23 campaign and appeared reluctant to move any of his young core.
“I think it’s still a team of the future. I think we have to have patience and grow. It’s the first time Pascal (Siakam) and Fred (VanVleet) and OG (Anunoby) have been at the helm. I think they did OK. And the young guys, (it was) the first time they’re really playing.
“We still preach patience and growth here. I know with how the results came at the end of the season. I know the expectations now become day-to-day; I understand that from a fan perspective or media perspective. It’s win now. But we’re thinking (about) the long game here.”
Still, that was before he knew Durant would be available.
Even at 33 years old, Durant is one of the best players in the NBA. During the 2021-22 campaign, he shouldered much of the load for the Nets following the James Harden trade and with Kyrie Irving unable to play most of the team's home games because of New York City's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for indoor arenas.
Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 51.8 percent from the floor and 38.3 percent from deep in 55 games.
The four-time scoring champion also has four more years remaining on his contract. With that kind of term, Ujiri at least has to consider adding the veteran, no matter the cost.