For a brief window of time this off-season, it seemed like a distinct possibility. Kevin Durant to the Toronto Raptors.
Durant’s trade demand and ensuing saga dogged the summer months, and the Raptors were almost continuously in the inner circle of possible landing spots. With a bevy of valued forwards and all their draft picks, it was a great partner for Brooklyn to barter with. There was nearly a landmark franchise trade in place.
In the end, the Nets wanted too much — a story that played out with every team they talked to. Right or wrong, the package of picks and any inclusion of Scottie Barnes was too steep for Masai Ujiri and Toronto’s braintrust, so the conversation ended.
Now, these teams meet for the first time since that debacle, and both rosters are hoping that running back their core and hoping for better health is the best approach to competing for a championship in 2022-23. The Raptors have already shown they can annoy an opposing fanbase, doing so after a narrow win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. The Nets have already shown some of the weaknesses of last season — with Ben Simmons still finding his way and a paltry group of big men looking to shore up the boards.
One bit of roster news for the Raptors tonight: Khem Birch will make his season debut after missing the opener rehabbing his knee. Chris Boucher and Otto Porter Jr. remain out.
Nick Nurse says Khem Birch is in vs. Nets, Chris Boucher remains out (hamstring). Says Otto Porter Jr. is moving 'more quickly' in workouts, which he takes a good sign, but no guidlines on his return.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) October 21, 2022
In Brooklyn tonight, can the Raptors win it with hustle? Can they show Durant what he’s missing out on? Will this be another chapter in an Atlantic Division rivalry that could pop up in the post-season once again? It’s the part of the calendar for puzzling answers together.
Get set with this morning’s preview from Joseph Strauss and let’s watch.
Where to watch:
Sportsnet One, 7:30PM EST
Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam
Brooklyn – Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Royce O’Neale, Kevin Durant, Nic Claxton
Toronto – Otto Porter Jr. (hamstring – out), Chris Boucher (hamstring – out), Khem Birch (knee – questionable)
Brooklyn – Seth Curry (ankle – out), T.J. Warren (foot – out)