Raptors' Fred VanVleet Says He Wouldn't Trade Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant

Adam WellsNovember 29, 2022

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant drives between Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes and Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in New York. The Nets won 131-129 in overtime. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Even though Kevin Durant could swing championship odds if the Brooklyn Nets traded him, at least one member of the Toronto Raptors wouldn't want his team to make a play for the 12-time All-Star if it meant giving up Scottie Barnes.

Appearing on the How Hungry Are You? show with Serge Ibaka (h/t Wenzell Ortiz of Yahoo Sports), Fred VanVleet explained why he wouldn't want to trade Barnes for Durant if the scenario presented itself.

"I wouldn’t do it," he said. "I told you, I’m a loyal guy; I’m not a trade guy."

VanVleet did smile when Ibaka asked him if there were any teammates he would trade to get Durant, so he isn't completely opposed to the idea of adding one of the best players in NBA history.

Despite his trade request over the summer, there has been no indication during the season that Durant is looking to leave Brooklyn. The Nets have played better of late, winning five of their past seven games to get to .500 (11-11) for the first time since the second game of the season.

The Raptors were among the teams reportedly interested in acquiring Durant, but Barnes seemed like a potential breaking point in trade negotiations.

Michael Grange of Sportsnet reported in July the Raptors were "fixed" on not putting Barnes into any trade package for a potential superstar player.

It's not hard to understand why Toronto's front office would want to keep Barnes, even if it meant not being able to get Durant. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year is only 21 and has already established himself as one of the best young two-way players in the league.

Barnes' overall shooting efficiency has declined so far this season (49.2 percent as a rookie to 43.7 percent), but he's been more effective shooting the three (34.8 percent, up from 30.1) and is averaging 5.2 assists per game.

Durant is capable of transforming almost any franchise into a title contender, but he's also 34 and has missed significant time due to injuries over the previous three seasons.

The Raptors are still trying to put all of the pieces together to start this season. They are sixth in the Eastern Conference with an 11-9 record. Their defense ranks in the top 10 in points allowed (108.5) and defensive rating (111.1).

Toronto is building around the terrific quartet of VanVleet, Barnes, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Head coach Nick Nurse has an excellent track record and should be able to figure things out with this group as the Raptors look to get back to the playoffs.