VanVleet’s agency change is coming at a pivotal time in his career. The seventh-year guard is headed for unrestricted free agency this summer if he and the Raptors don’t work out an extension before then — and if he turns down his player option for the 2023/24 season, which is viewed as a near-lock.
According to Stein, multiple teams around the NBA hope that the Raptors will start to become more receptive to trade inquires on VanVleet as the February 9 deadline approaches. The Magic have been mentioned more and more often in league circles as a “prime” VanVleet suitor this summer in free agency, Stein adds, though it’s unclear if Orlando would attempt to trade for him at the deadline.
Here’s more on the Raptors:
- After having reported in December that the Knicks inquired about a possible deal for Raptors forward OG Anunoby, Ian Begley of SNY.tv follows up on that item by stating that New York was comfortable offering multiple first-round picks in exchange for Anunoby. While that’s notable, it’s worth adding a caveat — the Knicks control multiple heavily protected first-round picks, so being willing to offer a couple of those is much different than being willing to give up two or three of their own unprotected first-rounders.
- In his aforementioned Substack article, Stein expresses skepticism that either Anunoby or Pascal Siakam is a legitimate trade candidate at this season’s deadline, with Gary Trent Jr. still looking like the Raptor most likely to be moved.
- In his latest Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype), Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports also downplayed the likelihood of a Siakam trade, suggesting that the star forward wants to be in Toronto. Fischer says he’d be “shocked” if Siakam is on the move in the next couple weeks.
- No matter what the Raptors do at the trade deadline, the development of big man Precious Achiuwa should be one of the club’s top priorities in the second half of the season, argues Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Achiuwa has been limited to 25 games so far this season due to injury, but has played some of his best basketball as of late, scoring double-digit points in eight of his last nine games, with a season-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting in Wednesday’s win over Sacramento.