Since three hours before the NBA free agency officially opened on Thursday, the Kevin Durant sweepstakes have unsurprisingly dominated the chatter of the NBA. Twitter refreshes from fans, media, and bettors alike have kept KD trending for five straight days, and the sportsbooks have seemingly been seeing more action on Durant than any ‘potential trade’ in recent memory.
After the news dropped that Durant had requested a trade from Brooklyn, the Suns and Heat emerged as early favorites to land the two-time MVP (mostly because KD himself listed the respective 2021 No. 1 seeds atop his wish list). Then, a potential reunion with Golden State became a popular talking point. Now, the odds have shifted dramatically in Toronto’s favor, with the Raptors emerging fromon June 30 to on Tuesday.
Kevin Durant trade odds: Why are the Raptors moving up betting boards?
Even after Toronto’s rise up the boards, Phoenix (-165) remains the favorite to land Durant. Translation: Oddsmakers give the Suns a 62.26-percent chance to acquire the 12-time All-Star while the Raptors have crept up to a 28.57-percent chance. Phoenix has occupied the top spot since the news dropped, but why have Toronto’s odds jumped up the board so significantly?
As Sporting News NBA writer Jordan Greer recently detailed,, thanks in large part to former Toronto superstar Vince Carter.
“Believe it or not, I wanted to play for the Toronto Raptors,” Durant told Dan Patrick in 2013. “That was my favorite team growing up.”
The Raptors also served as the squad that beat Durant’s 2019 Warriors in the Finals, after the four-time scoring champ went down with a brutal tear of his right Achilles’ tendon in Game 5. KD knows the organization has been well run by President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri and well coached by Nick Nurse. He also knows Toronto will likely vault to one of the three favorites to win the NBA Finals the moment he becomes a Raptor.
Ujiri has the pieces to work out a deal for Durant. Even if Brooklyn required the inclusion of reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and/or two-time All-NBA selection Pascal Siakam, Toronto still has plenty of wing support to compensate for such sacrifices. OG Anunoby can play multiple positions on both ends of the floor; Gary Trent Jr. has improved mightily; Fred VanVleet remains a top-five scoring point guard and is just begging for a true difference-maker like Durant to play alongside.
Even ancillary moves, like the Raptors’ signing of veteran Otto Porter Jr. in addition to their re-signing of Chris Boucher and Thaddeus Young, help Toronto shoulder any perceived blow to the depth chart associated with a KD deal. As reporter Alex Seixeiro recently noted, a Brooklyn-Toronto KD trade remains the “most seamless.”
Woj says the Nets are not in a rush and doesn’t believe any trade is imminent. Also: ”The most seemless trade for Brooklyn is with Toronto. That’s the least complicated deal and people should keep watching as the Raptors stay involved in these conversations.”
— Alex Seixeiro (@AlexSeixeiro)
Clearly, there’s no shortage of chatter here. The socials will remain abuzz around this historic superstar sweepstakes, and Sporting News will continue to monitor the fluid situation as we hear more. For now, consider the fact that the Slim Reaper could very well be landing in Jurassic Park. I smell a Drake song!
Betting outlook: If the odds shift back down to +500 or better, consider making a modest wager. Odds don’t generally jump solely because analysts discuss possibilities or bored NBA fans toss around a ton of Trade Machine deals on Twitter during holiday weekends. Typically, sportsbooks move odds for one team because they’re taking a lot of action on that team and/or they’ve received some kind of a tip or intel about the possible movement. Don’t go wild — Phoenix still feels like the best bet — but Toronto prevailing in the KD hunt would not be a shock. They’re one of the few teams with enviable young assets mixed with a desirable destination.