The Toronto Raptors have a core of valued gamers, which is why their 20-24 document Tuesday morning has folks pointing at them earlier than the NBA commerce deadline.
They’ve a foursome that might assist a contending workforce proper now: level guard Fred VanVleet, taking pictures guard Gary Trent Jr., and forwards Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.
From the angle of the Phoenix Suns, who even have a core of gifted gamers that’s considerably in brief provide this yr, Toronto is kind of an fascinating potential commerce associate.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Tuesday linked the Suns to VanVleet, although he reported Phoenix’s curiosity within the huge star.
League sources say the Suns and Magic have emerged as potential free agent suitors for All-Star guard VanVleet. VanVleet — the 2019 NBA champion and one of many league’s greatest undrafted success tales — not too long ago spoke about his pending free company within the offseason and the way he stays targeted on the Raptors: “I am fully targeted on his workforce. My loyalty is to this workforce and this franchise and I am making an attempt to get us again to the extent we’re used to right here.”
Phoenix, as at present constructed, doesn’t have the money to amass VanVleet outright in free company, stopping a large commerce. A lot of that chance would doubtless begin with Chris Paul, whose $30.8 million contract by means of 2023-24 is simply partially assured.
VanVleet has a $21.3 million wage this yr and a $22.8 million participant choice for the subsequent participant, however the soon-to-be 29-year-old is waiving that to signal a longer-term deal.
Nevertheless, the Suns have agreements in place to commerce VanVleet now, then signal him to a longer-term deal this summer season. This could permit them to get his fowl rights and go into the luxurious tax once more.
VanVleet, regardless of his age and poor taking pictures season, can command greater than $30 million in a brand new contract, which is why he’s anticipated to say no his choice.
The purpose guard is taking pictures 38% from the sector, simply 33% from three and is averaging 18.2 factors, 6.3 assists and 1.5 steals per sport. His sport and skill to play off the ball theoretically matches the Suns’ 0.5 offense, and no matter Paul’s scenario, a future pairing with Devin Booker could be an excellent match.
However would the Suns’ packaging of Jae Crowder’s take care of Dario Saric or Landry Shamet plus draft compensation be sufficient for Toronto to maneuver VanVleet by Feb. 9?
Is VanVleet even the No. 1 decide on the Suns’ Raptors roster that might transfer the needle for them this yr after agreeing to a long-term deal?
And will there be an even bigger upset between these two groups?
Yahoo!’s Jake Fischer, who additionally highlighted the Raptors’ commerce choices on Tuesday, notes that Toronto has proven curiosity in big-time gamers, together with Phoenix signee Deandre Ayton.
The Raptors have been linked to Ayton over the summer season, however it’s unknown if curiosity stays after the Suns made a max contract provide to maintain Ayton in the summertime.
Once more, how a lot Phoenix will be capable of spend huge this commerce deadline and subsequent summer season stays a thriller given the present possession scenario.
In response to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, big-money offers just like the VanVleet deal would doubtless want outgoing proprietor Robert Sarver’s approval. Windhorst has added that it would not seem doubtless that the NBA will formally certify and transfer incoming proprietor Mat Ishbia in place earlier than the commerce deadline. The folks making the transfer, Director of Basketball Operations and GM James Jones and Performing Governor Sam Garvin, must give the thumbs as much as any deal.
No matter what hurdles stay, the Raptors are on the forefront of the league-wide dialog. All 4 of the aforementioned gamers with excessive commerce worth might assist Phoenix, however the commerce market will definitely be aggressive if Toronto does certainly go into gross sales mode.