Chris Coduto/Getty Images
The possibility of Kevin Durant becoming available during the offseason may reportedly impact the return for O.G. Anunoby ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline.
“Officials from multiple teams also told Yahoo Sports they expect the number of front offices quietly preparing for Kevin Durant to become available via trade this offseason will likely dampen the [Toronto] Raptors’ bidding war for Anunoby’s services, at least to some degree,” Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday.
Toronto continues to be one of the primary focuses around the league as the deadline approaches, especially after the Kyrie Irving trade was completed.
Fischer listed Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. as “buzzy names on the trade market” while also pointing out it seems less likely that Pascal Siakam will be moved. Coming into the season, expectations were high in Toronto given those players and a potential young star in the making in Scottie Barnes, but that has not come to fruition and could lead the front office to sell.
The 25-30 Raptors are in 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings and are facing a battle just to make it into the play-in tournament. While there is enough talent to perhaps challenge some of the top teams in a single playoff series, a championship run is unlikely given the first 55 games.
As for Anunoby, there is an element of risk involved in assuming Durant will want to be moved this offseason.
Perhaps the Brooklyn Nets will play well down the stretch even without Irving, inspiring him to stay. There is plenty of talent in a supporting cast that features Nic Claxton, Ben Simmons and Seth Curry, and a healthy Durant is arguably the best player in the league.
That possibility could make Anunoby more intriguing as a sure thing, although Fischer reported that front offices around the league see Toronto’s asking price as “quite steep.”
Paying that price would give a contender an impactful two-way player who can defend multiple positions, hit from three-point range and provide solid scoring numbers. He is averaging 16.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 36.6 percent from deep.
His defense alone could swing a playoff series, and he will surely generate plenty of interest ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET deadline even if the Durant situation could impact the asking price.