Open Thread: Free Agency drags as Durant and Irving remain untraded

3 mins read
Courtesy: The Canadian Press

Sportsbooks have danced and talking heads have for some reason railed against a city they know nothing about, and Kevin Durant remains a Brooklyn Net. Oh yeah, Kyrie Irving too, but somehow that doesn’t feel super important right now. The talking heads have nothing to talk about right now — which means they’re doing nothing but talking. Of course. As usual.

And free agency is locked and frozen in time until the Durant saga finds a conclusion. Deandre Ayton likely won’t see his future decided until Durant does — both because whatever team could unload assets in a sign and trade for Ayton wants to keep that powder dry for Durant, and because the Suns themselves can use Ayton in a deal for Durant if the Nets are amenable. Lots of moving parts.

The Raptors feature heavily into this. On one hand, they’ve been rumoured as a landing spot for Ayton. We covered the on-court fit here, but Toronto has a number of ways of prying him away from Phoenix, especially as a number of his would-be suitors have cooled on acquiring the star big. But so too have the Raptors been rumoured as a landing spot for Durant. We covered the off-court implications here. And so the Raptors are deep inside the swirling and static maelstrom of this offseason. They already got their guys in Thad Young, Chris Boucher, and Otto Porter jr., so anything else is extra. Even if Toronto doesn’t end up with Durant or Ayton, they could help facilitate a deal and end up with compensation for that. Lots of ways this affects the Raptors.

Realistically, Toronto probably won’t end up with Durant. Prepare yourselves accordingly. Reports have been consistent from across the board that the Raptors will not trade away Scottie Barnes, and it’s very difficult for a team like Brooklyn to trade Durant to Toronto and not come away with Barnes. Trades are always political as much as they are practical. It’s possible Toronto does acquire Ayton, especially as very few teams (just the Pacers and Spurs, I believe, neither of whom have expressed a desire for Ayton) even have the cap space to sign him to his desired contract. So his market is deflating like a balloon full of tiny holes. Still, acquiring Ayton would cost Toronto lots of assets, purely to match whatever salary he commands, and it’s arguable whether Toronto will do that. They may just wait and see, giving this roster as much time to stretch its wings as the Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan squads. They’ve earned at least another season to see what they can do, in my eyes.

For now, we wait. Comment away.

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