Leading up to the start of the 2014-15 season, we'll be asking 20 questions about the team. Some of them more serious than others. All of them hopefully interesting or at least enough to spark a meaningful discussion. After hours of brainstorming, we came up with a perfect name for these articles, we're calling them 20Q's.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant will cost an arm, a leg, a pair of shoulders and any other body parts you want to toss in when the four-time scoring champ hits the open market in two years. A 6'9" small forward with a wingspan of 7'4" who can get to the rim at will, shoot the lights out and drop 30+ points on any given night won't come cheap.
Money makes the world go round. Just ask Jordan Belfort and Mark Hanna.
In the case of Toronto, they should have some decent change in their back pockets to throw his way when the opportunity presents itself. Fellow contributor Daniel Hackett goes in-depth on the matter in his piece entitled "A Very Early Look At The Raptors In The Summer Of 2016," in case you would like to know salary cap specifics and who will and won't be around during that time.
It's not like it would be a desperate play on the side of the Raptors. No one is going to get on their hands and knees and grovel in order to sway Durant north of the border. If things continue on the path that began once Rudy Gay was sent packing to the Sacramento Kings, the team should continue improving and maintain their position near the top of the Eastern Conference.
That's enticing. Durant has a good thing going with Oklahoma City, having made at least the Western Conference Finals in three of the last four years. If he's going to part ways with the franchise that drafted him, he's at least going to head somewhere that has just as good a shot at winning a championship as the Thunder.
I'm not saying the Raptors will be hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy anytime soon, but in a wide-open East, they have as good a shot as anyone to pull off a deep postseason run.
And then there's Drake. The global ambassador of the Raptors organization with the "YOLO" lifestyle, winning smile and connections coming out the wazoo. He's already begun working his Drizzy magic, having made a pitch to Durant during his set at OVO Fest in Toronto.
Drake knows people. He knows a lot of people. Durant is a clearly a fan, having been in attendance during OVO Fest. Why not milk that relationship and see if that helps?
Don't forget about Greivis Vasquez, a high school teammate of Durant's at Montrose Christian in Maryland. Vasquez believes Durant will be the one to take the Raptors to the promised land, which he revealed during an interview with Bryan Hayes of TSN 1050 back in May (via Jim Cavan of Bleacher Report):
Hayes: It was announced 'Raptors Day' on Monday here in Toronto, and you guys just got to the first round. What do you think the city would be like if you ever won a title here?
Vasquez: Well, imagine if we get KD, Kevin Durant, 2016.
Hayes: That's your guy, too, right?
Vasquez: And he'll lead us to a championship.
Hayes: Are you calling your shot right now, Kevin Durant coming to Toronto?
Vasquez: I think he'll have statues right outside the ACC.
I actually feel bad as I type this piece up. I'm laying out several reasons as to why Durant could realistically pick the Raptors over the 29 other teams in the NBA.
What I'm doing is laying the groundwork for several fans to be blown away and caught off guard when he ultimately doesn't come here. Don't act like there aren't those of you out there. You're crossing your fingers, toes, legs and all other body parts I didn't include in my opener.
Bless your hearts.
Durant will either go to one of the largest markets available, or stay in Oklahoma City. The chances of him coming here are slim to none and slim is reportedly banned from touching Canadian soil. New York, Los Angeles and a slew of other cities are ahead of Toronto in the basketball market food chain. They may not have more success on the court at that time, but you can never discount the power those markets have in free agency.
It's awesome to think of the possibilities, though. Durant wearing the red and white and helping a slew of young stars take basketball in Canada to newer and greater heights. That's a dream worth dreaming.
Could he be the final piece to the puzzle? Add him to a core of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas and you really have something special. Now, can the Raptors win a championship without him? I believe it. Even though it may take longer to do, they're on their way.
Just remember that Durant did the following to us last season and maybe you'll reconsider your stance on the matter. Some wounds never heal.