The potential price tag for acquiring Kevin Durant is not what should be most important to the birds of preysays Scott Stinson of The National Post, who says determining whether Durant would actually be motivated and invested in playing for Toronto should be the single most important factor for the team’s leading decision-makers.
As Stinson writes, Durant’s motivation for requesting a swap from Brooklyn remains a bit vague, especially since he just signed a four-year extension last August. That should be the vice president and president of basketball operations Maasai Ujiricbecause trading for a superstar who may not be engaged or on the same page as the club could be disastrous, Stinson said.
Draw parallels between Ujiri’s trade for Kawhi Leonard going into the 2018 low season to the Durant sweepstakes doesn’t make sense now, according to Stinson, because the situations aren’t comparable.
Leonard, who came from an injury that missed almost the entire 2017-18 season, was on an expiring contract and led the Raptors teams. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan had plenty of time to break through in the East, but couldn’t get past it LeBron James† The Raptors finished second in the East in the two years after Leonard left Toronto, so the team clearly remained competitive and didn’t mortgage the future to take him over, Stinson writes.
Durant, on the other hand, has four years left with his deal, so it will obviously cost significantly more to land him, plus the current version of the Raptors is ascendant, with Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes† Gary Trent jr.and Precious Achiuwa one of the new additions that made a significant contribution to a team improving its win tally from 27 to 48. Moving away from an emerging core, only for Durant to hesitate at the idea of staying, could leave Toronto in a hole come out that would be hard to climb out of, says Stinson.
Here’s more of the Atlantic:
- Can play a smaller role on the Celtics benefit Malcolm Brogdon from a health point of view? †The knock on him when he got out of college is that he had terrible knees‘, a rival general manager told Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett. †I mean, some studies were really suspicious in terms of how long his lower body would be able to endure NBA pounding. So that’s why he ended up in the second round, because he was damn near red flagged. So the fact is, he’s probably better off getting off the bench for a limited number of minutes, trying to make an impact in 18 instead of trying to play 30, and being injured all the time. The question is how will he accept that?† Boston reportedly considers Brogdon a sixth man, and he said shortly after the deal was announced that he is motivated to win a championship and willing to sacrifice his individual stats for the betterment of the team.
- De’Anthony Melton believes he is a “good fit” for the sixers, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscriber link). †Once I saw the team I thought ‘OK, that’s a great place’,’” Melton told The Inquirer by phone last week. †That suits me very well. … I understand what this team needs. I understand what this team is trying to do. I am ready for the task ahead. I’m ready for what’s to come† Melton was acquired from the Grizzlies in exchange for the No. 23 pick (David Roddy) and Danny Green in a draft day swap.
- Free agent guard signs Jalen Brunson was a solid move for the Knicks but they still look like a play-in team on paper, says Ian O’Connor of The New York Post. According to O’Connor, Brunson is a good player and the best point guard the Knicks will use in years, neither he nor RJ Barrett or Julius Randle are capable of being the best – or second best – players on a championship-class team, and unless something drastically changes, New York 2022/23 will start as “just another barely relevant club.”