Why Toronto should announce they are out of the Durant Sweepstakes

Hear me out. There is a lot of noise that Toronto is a strong possible destination for Durant mostly because of Scotty Barnes. In a different world a straight up Barnes for Durant and maybe a couple of picks would be worth discussing. This is not that world. There are a ton of reasons why they shouldn't even entertain trading for Durant as described below:

The cost. Rudy Gobert's trade to Minnesota was essentially a bunch of players who were not part of the teams future (with maybe the exception of Pat Bev for his veteran leadership which is easily replaced by Rudy) plus 5 first round picks (3 unprotected, 1 top 5 protected and a pick swap). The Nets will be like "Durant is much better than Gobert so that is the starting point". There are huge differences here though. Minny is in a different situation than Toronto, they are a smaller market team that have only made the playoffs twice in the last 2 decades (more or less). Gobert is an excellent defensive compliment for the Wolves and will only enhance their chances of being relevant. Also, Gobert is like 5 years younger than Durant so its not like in 2 years his career could effectively be over.

The cost to Toronto if similar means they have to break up their core. There is no chance they can trade Barnes with picks so they have to include at least 3 players from their rotation with 2 of them being starters (it would be something like, Barnes, Trent, OG, Birch plus picks). The Raptors could still have a decent starting unit (Durant, Siakam, Porter, VanVleet, and Precious) with a bench of Boucher, Banton, Thad Young, and filler. I just don't like gutting the team for a guy who has at best 2 years of good basketball if we are lucky. It means the final two years he will have a terrible contract which will limit the teams abilities to get better especially since they won't be able to draft anyone in the first round. Its funny because if Toronto had Cleveland's roster this would be easy, Mobley and Love for Durant. There are other teams in similar situations where they don't have to give up much of their core to get Durant but Toronto isn't one of them (either is Phoenix really but at least they wouldn't have to give up too much of their core especially if they can convince Ayton to sign and trade to Brooklyn).

Ultimately, if I am the Raptors and you feel this is your shot I would be like this: "Package A: Barnes, OG, Trent, Birch, 1 2023 First round pick, 2 pick swaps and 2 second rounders or Package B: Trent OG BIrch and 4 first round picks plus a couple of swaps. Its either or. I would not give them a bunch of picks and Barnes. No way no how.