Four potential destinations for Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet is a player interlinked with the philosophies that define the Toronto Raptors: Grittiness, toughness, a lunch-pail and hardhat mentality and the determination to bet on yourself. His presence has defined much of what the Raptors pride themselves on.
More than a holdover from the We The North era, VanVleet has made the Raptors in large part his team — from his developmental years in the G-League, to becoming a key sixth man during the 2019 NBA championship run, to then finally finding his spot in the starting lineup alongside Kyle Lowry. Despite inconsistencies in his play, VanVleet has been a steady presence in Toronto.
Fast forward to 2022-23 and an underperforming Raptors team. This squad should be, on paper, better than what it is now. That’s lead to a conundrum of sorts, with the franchise having to decide which direction it should go: tear it apart or stick with this core. The decision on VanVleet will show which path they choose in many ways.
VanVleet, 28, is likely to become a free agent this summer by declining his $22.8-million player option for next season. Though rumours were floated around (and promptly denied) about the all-star guard and front office discussing an extension last offseason, talk of him staying in Toronto has died down as the NBA trade deadline looms on Feb. 9.
After firing his agent last week, reports circulated linking the guard with Klutch Sports ahead of his impending free agency, likely furthering the narrative that he’s set to test the waters — which would be a not-so-surprising move for a player whose mantra is to bet on himself.
Though VanVleet has turned it up in his last nine games — averaging 26.6 points, 7.9 assists and 2.9 steals + blocks per game — his story this season has been one of inconsistency. During this stretch, he has been knocking down threes at a 41.0 per cent clip. He also locked down his first triple-double of the year on Wednesday against the Utah Jazz with a 34/12/10 performance.
Despite the up-and-down season, the value VanVleet could bring to any team is clear: championship pedigree, leadership, and — when looking at the more tangible factors of his game — a microwave scorer with the ability to be a floor general.
If the Raptors choose to keep the Rockford, Ill. native and sign him to an extension, they retain a player synonymous with this era of Toronto basketball. He’s a player who, even on off-shooting nights, can help guide the team with his playmaking and nose-to-the-grindstone defensive hustle.
However, if the team decides to move on from VanVleet, there will be no shortage of suitors lining up for his services. Whether he’s the last piece for a contending team or a veteran presence for a squad on the rise, he’s a player that can fit in any scheme and make an impact.
In the first part of this series leading up to the trade deadline, we’ll look over some potential landing spots for VanVleet, and the pros and cons of dealing him to each prospective team on this list.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
In an effort to potentially reunite the 2019 Raptors championship squad, recent reports from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor linked VanVleet (as well as Kyle Lowry) to the Clippers, with the Los Angeles squad hoping to make an upgrade to its in-flux backcourt.
Moreover, owner Steve Ballmer has the deepest pockets in the league with seemingly no intention of slowing down until he gets that ring. Considering how much the franchise has spent on wings Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, can you blame him?
VanVleet could be that final piece — a more gifted distributor and point-of-attack defender than either Reggie Jackson or John Wall. Working alongside George and former Raptors running mate Leonard, VanVleet could make the Clippers — who already hold opponents to the third-least points per game in the league — one of the most versatile two-way teams in the league.
Draft assets: For the Raptors, though, the return package might not be the most alluring option on the table with most of the Clippers’ future first-round picks already belonging to the Oklahoma City Thunder — a consequence of the deal to bring George to Los Angeles. They also don’t have young players that fit the rebuild or retool philosophy. However, they can deal their 2027 and 2029 first-rounders, which could be valuable when projecting a few years ahead, with both Leonard and George set to become free agents at that point with no concrete succession plan in place.
Possible player targets: Toronto would likely have to absorb some longer-term contracts from the Clippers so that the salaries would match. A combination of two of Nicolas Batum (two years, $10.8 million), Luke Kennard (two years, $14.4 million + a team option) or Robert Covington (two years, $12.3 million) would do the trick. If Masai Ujiri wants a younger piece in return, the 26-year-old Terrence Mann would likely have to be the piece on the table. On one hand, they’re taking on some older players whose salaries might restrict the Raptors during free agency this summer, but on the other, each of the names listed above are solid depth adds to a team without a semblance of depth.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
The Lakers, as it currently stands, are out of a playoff or play-in spot. However, the standings out West are tight, with only three-and-a-half games (and a couple egregious missed foul calls) separating the Lakers from the sixth-seed Dallas Mavericks.
They were the first team to get the ball rolling this trade season, sending guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks to the Washington Wizards for forward Rui Hachimura, potentially signalling their intentions to get more into the mix as the deadline draws near.
As mentioned earlier, VanVleet has been linked to Klutch Sports, an agency well-known for its ties with Lakers superstar LeBron James. This past off-season, four players affiliated with Klutch joined the Los Angeles outfit: Lonnie Walker IV, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Troy Brown Jr. and Scotty Pippen Jr.
As for VanVleet’s fit alongside James and Anthony Davis, he would likely slide into a starting role, supplanting Patrick Beverley as the lead guard. He would likely be given a more off-ball role, doing damage in the catch-and-shoot and complementing the ball-dominant James and Russell Westbrook.
Draft assets: Similar to the Clippers, though, the return package wouldn’t be good for the Raptors short-term with the Lakers sparse on young talent and not in control of any of their picks from now until 2027. The value would come in projection, as the Lakers could be a team in the gutter come 2027 if they go all-in now.
Possible player target: With the Lakers trading away Nunn, it makes it a bit harder to match salaries especially if they intend to keep Russell Westbrook and his $47 million salary (if they do send Russ, additional pieces would have to be included from the Raptors to make it work). A package that sends Beverley (one year, $13 million), Damian Jones (two years, $2.2 million), Troy Brown Jr. (one year, $1.8 million), and a combination of the Lakers’ available picks (2027 unprotected first, 2023 second, and 2025 second) could make it work.
On Monday night, Luka Doncic had his fourth 50-plus point game this season — pure dominance. But in each of those games, the Mavericks won by single-digit margins, with Doncic essentially dragging his team to a win each time. His usage rate of 38.4 per cent this season ranks fifth all-time and his career rate of 35.5 (according to statmuse) is first.
Despite blowing out even Iron Chef Bobby Flay himself in the unwritten “let him cook metric,” Doncic needs help if the Mavericks truly intend to contend this season. After losing Jalen Brunson this off-season, the workload heaped onto the Slovenian superstar’s shoulders has only increased.
Spencer Dinwiddie, his current backcourt running mate, has done a solid job, averaging 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists. However, the rest of the names on the depth chart are more suited to a game of Guess Who? than an NBA game. Theo Pinson and McKinley Wright IV, anyone? According to Cleaning the Glass, the Mavericks have an 11.8 on/off point differential when Doncic is on the court, ranking in the 96th percentile in the league.
VanVleet would fix that problem and more, shifting him back into an off-ball role alongside Doncic and working as a better point-of-attack defender than anyone else on the Mavericks’ depth chart. He’d get significantly more open looks and slot right into the five-wide scheme Dallas loves to run. When Doncic is off the floor, VanVleet and Dinwiddie can easily split the ball-handling load.
Draft assets: In return, the Mavericks do still possess most of their future picks, with control over their selections from 2024-2029, so an assortment of one or two of those picks would sweeten the pot for Toronto.
Possible player target: To match salaries, the Raptors could ask for promising young guards Josh Green (two years, $3.0 million) or Jaden Hardy (three years, $1.0 million). Still, they would also have to absorb the salary from a combination of two of the following players: Canadian Dwight Powell (one year, $11.0 million), Reggie Bullock (two years, $10.0 million), or Davis Bertans (three years, $16.0 million … yikes).
One of these teams is not like the others. The Magic aren’t contenders by any stretch of the imagination. Currently 20-31 and sitting 13th in the Eastern Conference, they have no intention of making a playoff push this season. So why would they look at VanVleet as a potential target?
The Magic have the fourth-youngest roster in the NBA, with an average age of 23.5. But more importantly, they’re shaping up to be one of the most promising young cores in the league. Paolo Banchero looks like a strong first-overall pick, Franz Wagner has taken massive strides this year and Bol Bol has been the surprise of the season.
What the Magic don’t have right now is a veteran, with the oldest guy on the team being 31-year-old former Raptors wing Terrence Ross. Despite incremental improvements from former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, he likely isn’t the long-term solution at the point for Orlando either. The hope was that 2021 fifth-overall pick Jalen Suggs would take that role, however, another year plagued by injury and inconsistency might force a change in plan from Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman – a former member of the Raptors’ front office.
VanVleet could be the piece the Magic need to lead this team to success in years to come. With him facilitating for Banchero and Wagner, instilling a championship pedigree into the locker room, this could be a core ready to take the next step in the next few years.
Draft assets: The Magic have a bevy of picks at their disposal, possessing nine first-round picks and 12 second-round picks between now and 2029. The cost for VanVleet could likely weigh upon how many picks the Raptors want in return, however, one first next year and a pick swap somewhere down the line could likely seal the deal.
Possible player targets: This could also be one of the more intriguing returns for the Raptors in terms of players coming back, with a package that could consist of a combination of Gary Harris (two years, $13 million), Mo Bamba (two years, $10 million), and Ross (one year, $11 million), all of which could be solid depth additions for a Raptors squad starving for just that.
By: Kai Gammage
Title: NBA Trade Targets: 4 potential destinations for Raptors’ VanVleet
Sourced From: www.sportsnet.ca/nba/article/nba-trade-targets-4-potential-destinations-for-raptors-vanvleet/
Published Date: 02-03-2023
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the top five per-game scorers in the Raptor's history?
Kawhi Leonard is the highest scorer on the team with 26.6 points per game, followed by Vince Carter with 23.4, Mike James with 20.3, Chris Bosh with 20.2, and DeMar DeRozan with 19.7 points per game, respectively.
Why is Toronto Raptors called Raptors
In 1995, the NBA expanded into Canada and created the Toronto Raptors. The film Jurassic Park inspired the name and logo. The team colours include bright red, purple and black as well as silver.
The Raptors' first season of basketball was a struggle. They finished the season with a record of 21-61. They improved every year, and in 1999 they were ready to make their first playoff appearance.
The Raptors' most memorable moment occurred in 2019, when they won their inaugural NBA championship title. Toronto won its first championship under the leadership of Kawhi Leonard (backcourt) and Kyle Lowry (courtside).
Since then, Canada's most loved sports team, the Raptors, have been an institution. Toronto continues bringing excitement to basketball fans across the world with its international superstars as well as local talent.
Canada's basketball heritage is proudly represented by the Toronto Raptors. Young athletes are inspired by their success on the court. With their passionate fans, unique style of play, and commitment to excellence, there is no doubt that the Raptors will continue to be one of Canada's most beloved teams for years to come.
When was the Raptors their first game?
The Raptors played the New Jersey Nets in their first regular season at the SkyDome on November 3, 1995. Alvin Robertson scored the first points in franchise lore. The Raptors defeated the Nets 94-79 with contributions from Damon Stoudamire (10 points and 10 assists) and Robertson (30 pts).
What number of NBA teams is Canada home to?
The Toronto Raptors were the Canadian NBA's only team in 2001. From 1995 to 2001 the Vancouver Grizzlies had been a NBA team. However, they moved to Memphis to become the Memphis Grizzlies. Canada did have two NBA teams during the late 1990s: the Vancouver Grizzlies, and the Toronto Raptors. However, no other Canadian cities have an NBA team. Canadians love basketball, and many travel to the United States to watch games. The Toronto Raptors have been a famous team since their inception in 1995 and continue to draw large crowds for their home games at Scotiabank Arena. The NBA All-Star Weekend is attended by hundreds of Canadians each year. Canada can host more than one NBA basketball team with its 38 million population. Many basketball fans in North America have discussed and debated its potential for a second team. The Toronto Raptors, Canada's only representative in the NBA, remain as such.
Canadian Elite Basketball League is a Canadian professional basketball league. This league features six teams from Canadian cities and towns, including Fraser Valley Bandits (Abbotsford, BC), Edmonton Stingers (Edmonton, Alberta), Guelph Nighthawks (Guelph, Ontario), Hamilton Honey Badgers (Hamilton, Ontario), Saskatchewan Rattlers (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), and Niagara River Lions (St. Catharines, Ontario). The CEBL is the only professional basketball league operating in Canada currently.
From 2011 to 2020, the National Basketball League of Canada was a professional basketball league for men. It featured eight teams from Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, Cape Breton, Summerside, London, Windsor and Kitchener. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the NBLC to close its operations in 2020.
Canada also has junior leagues like the Canadian National Basketball League, which is a semiprofessional men's basketball league located in Vancouver, BC. CNB has teams from British Columbia and Alberta as well as Manitoba and Ontario. Canadian Elite Development League, (CEDL), is another Canadian junior basketball league that focuses primarily on the Greater Toronto Area. AC) and the Canadian Youth Basketball League (CYBL). These leagues allow young basketball players to grow their skills while playing in a competitive environment.
What does "We The North” actually mean?
The Toronto Raptors use the anthem "We The North", also known as We The North Nation. It was created by Drake and Noah Shebib (producer).
Drake wrote the song while staying at his friend's apartment in Toronto. He completed his album Take Care with Kanye West. While there, Drake decided to write some lyrics about his hometown. Drake wanted it be representative of all Canadians. The song is about unity. Pride. Hope.
Drake began working on the melody to We The North in London, when he was filming the video for "Nice For What". The instrumental version of the song was recorded in one take.
Drake was writing lyrics for the song when 40 suggested the chorus. Drake loved the hook and asked to record it. Together they created the final product.
The official music video for "We The North Anthem" was released on October 5, 2018. It featured Shawn Mendes (Canadian singer-songwriter) performing with Drake and others.
How did the Raptors win the NBA title in 2019?
DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poltl and a protected 2019 draft pick were traded by the Toronto Raptors to the San Antonio Spurs on July 18, 2018.
On February 7, 2019, the Raptors traded Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright C. J. Miles, along with a 2024 second-round selection draft pick to Memphis Grizzlies for Marc Gasol--another multi-All-Star and former defensive player of the year--and signed Jeremy Lin shortly afterwards.
Two big trades by the Toronto Raptors sent shockwaves through NBA. DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poltl were traded to the Raptors. A 2019 first-round draft selection (that was protected) was also traded to the San Antonio Spurs. They received Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs in exchange. They then traded Jonas Valanciunas for Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and a 2024 2nd-round draft pick to Memphis Grizzlies were traded for Marc Gasol--another All-Star, former Defensive Player-of-the-Year. These moves put the Raptors in a great position to compete for an NBA title this season. Let's examine each trade.
Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Raptors as a risk-reward trade. Leonard is an MVP-caliber player when healthy, and he's a top-5 player in league. His injury last season limited him to playing just nine games, and there is concern about his long-term physical health. The Raptors decided the reward was worth taking the chance and signed the deal. Leonard has been playing at an All Star level and is currently in good health. He is averaging 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists per game while shooting 49% from the field and 38% from three-point range. If he keeps his health good, he could be a key to the Raptors winning the NBA title.
Marc Gasol made a trade for Marc Gasol, but it was a very short-term one. Gasol is now in his 30s and clearly has reached his peak. But, he's still a good player that brings valuable experience and talent to the young Raptors. He is averaging 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game while shooting 45% from the field and 34% from three-point range. C.J. Wright and Delon Wright were young assets the Raptors traded. Miles was able to purchase Gasol, but the Raptors feel his experience is invaluable when it comes time for playoffs.
The Raptors had a great start to the season, starting with a 6-0 victory. They broke the record for their best start in 20 games with a 16-4 record. They reached 20 wins faster that any time in their past history when they beat Cleveland Cavaliers 24 times. The Raptors were cautious with Leonard, resting him for more than 20 games throughout the season to prevent worsening his previous injury. However, they managed to capture 2nd place in East, only trailing behind Milwaukee Bucks.
The Raptors were able to continue their winning streak in the playoffs by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers (Orlando Magic), Milwaukee Bucks (Milwaukee Bucks) to reach the NBA Finals. Leonard was named Finals MVP after the Raptors claimed their first title, beating the Golden State Warriors 6 to 6.
The Toronto Raptors' offseason was a success, and it has paid off. Two All-Stars are on the roster and the Raptors look poised to be contenders in the years ahead. They have shown they are capable and willing to make bold moves as well as take risks when it comes to assembling a championship-level team. It will be interesting to see if they can keep up this success in the future.
- Thomas named Raptors' GM NBA superstar to have 10% stake in the new franchise". (en.wikipedia.org)
- After Thomas attempted to execute a letter of intent with Slaight to purchase the team failed, he resigned from his position in November and sold his 9 percent stake in the team to Slaight. (en.wikipedia.org)
- By 2018, estimated the Raptors were worth $1.4 billion, 12th in the NBA. (en.wikipedia.org)
- As predicted by analysts, the team easily secured a berth in the 2001 NBA playoffs with a franchise-high 47 wins. (en.wikipedia.org)
- Thomas named Raptors' GM NBA superstar to have 10% stake in the new franchise". (en.wikipedia.org)
- Tip In: Toronto Raptors' Game Post Game: Not Just Any Williams
- Raptors HQ, a Toronto Raptors community
How to get to the Toronto Raptors game from where you are
Toronto Raptors games are at Air Canada Centre. (ACC) is located in downtown Toronto Ontario, Canada. You can reach ACC via the TTC subway system. Union Station takes about 30 minutes to get to ACC. Bay Street station is the nearest stop to ACC.
Bay Street station is the best way to get to ACC if you are coming from Union Station. Follow the signs for ACC from Bay Street Station. If you are arriving at ACC from a different direction, please follow the signs for Bay Street station.
Follow the signs to the ACC from Bay Street Station.
Accessible to persons with disabilities, the venue is easily accessible. Special seating areas are available for people with disabilities. Sign language interpretation services are also offered by the ACC.
Parking is free at the ACC. However, there is limited street parking available nearby.