The latest odds from DraftKings for which team would acquire Kevin Durant have the Toronto Raptors leaping into the second-favored role at -250 behind the Phoenix Suns (-130), who reportedly are Durant's preferred landing spot. The Raptors weren't considered an early favorite, but if they are willing to trade reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes to Brooklyn, a deal could get done soon. Bettors at Caesars Sportsbook think something might be up with Toronto as it is down to +2500 to win the 2023 NBA title. But don't rule out KD staying put, either.
Since last Thursday, only the Lakers (27 percent) and Suns (13 percent) have taken more handle than Raptors (11 percent) to win it all next year. Toronto had been priced +6000 before that surge of action. The Phoenix money also has a lot to do with Durant, while the Los Angeles action is about Kyrie Irving.
Never doubt Raptors vice chairman and president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri. He was the one who brought Kawhi Leonard to Toronto and won the Raptors a championship a few years ago. Ujiri is one of the best in the business and paid as such at a reported $15 million per year.
Toronto has all its first-round picks the rest of the decade, but Barnes, the No. 4 overall pick in 2021, is supposedly off the table. A trade of former All-Star Pascal Siakam and excellent two-way forward OG Anunoby for Durant (and many picks) would work salary-wise. Even if the Raptors wanted to trade Barnes, his $7.6 million salary is so cheap that it would make a deal quite difficult.
Brooklyn has all the leverage on Durant because he's under contract, barring him threatening to retire. Shams Charania reported Tuesday the Nets are prepared to go into next season with Durant and Irving still on their roster. Frankly, Brooklyn is acting like that with the recent additions of TJ Warren and Royce O'Neale and the re-signings of Patty Mills and Nic Claxton.
The Nets went from +750 to +3500 on the day of the Durant trade request, and reached as high as +5000. Tuesday, though, Brooklyn dropped from +5000 to +3000 after a surge of action came in.
"[NBA insider] Shams [Charania] did the rounds talking about how the Kyrie [Irving] trade looks like it's fallen through because it looks like the Nets don't want [Russell] Westbrook after all," said Eric Fenstermaker, senior trading manager at Caesars Sportsbook. "If Kyrie stays on the Nets, the line of thinking might be maybe they don't move Durant and that +5000 is too high there. We pushed them out a little aggressive to +5000 when the rest of the market was +3000 or +3500. It drew some initial bets because we were higher than the market, and now there's a bit of smoke that they make keep the team intact. I went to +3000 to see what the bettors do. It's just been a continuous trickle of money on the Nets over the past few days."
Boston, not considered a serious Durant suitor, is the +575 favorite at Caesars to win the 2023 NBA title, followed by Golden State (+600) and Phoenix (+600). Miami has risen to +1200 as Bam Adebayo is ineligible to be traded to Brooklyn for Durant for opaque NBA contractual reasons as long as Ben Simmons is still on the Nets' roster.
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