NBA Rumors: Lakers, T-Wolves Linked to Fred VanVleet Trade with Raptors at Deadline

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 7, 2023

MEMPHIS, TN - FEBRUARY 5: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors dribbles the ball during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 5, 2023 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet has generated significant interest around the NBA and is considered the "most likely" Raptors player to be traded before Thursday's deadline, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

The Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves were all listed as potential landing spots for VanVleet.

The 28-year-old is currently averaging 19.7 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in 2022-23, although the Raptors are just 25-30 on the season and tied for 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto's Pascal Siakam, O.G. Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. have also drawn interest ahead of the deadline, per Fischer.

VanVleet could still be the easiest to move as a potential free agent in the offseason. The guard has a $22.8 million player option for 2023-24.

Opposing teams could add the 28-year-old as a short-term rental to help this year or get a leg up toward signing him to a long-term deal.

The point guard has showed he can make an impact for a top team, earning an All-Star selection last year while averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 assists per game. In 2019, VanVleet played a key role in helping the Raptors win their first NBA title.

The Lakers, Clippers and Suns, three teams involved in the sweepstakes for Kyrie Irving, can still find an impact guard for the second half of the season.

The Lakers could especially use another difference-maker alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Los Angeles is currently just 25-29, 13th in the Western Conference, but the squad has no interest in tanking and will be aggressive in the hope of climbing the standings.

The Clippers could also benefit from the addition of a true point guard to run the offense next to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Minnesota could add VanVleet as a replacement for D'Angelo Russell, who has been up-and-down this season. The Timberwolves had high expectations after adding Rudy Gobert in the offseason, but the team is currently just tied for seventh in the West.