The 28-year-old guard will be a free agent this summer if he turns down a $22.8MM player option, which Pincus says many league insiders expect to happen. VanVleet can negotiate an extension with Toronto through June 30, but the Raptors could try to move him before the deadline if they aren’t confident about reaching a new deal.
Pincus hears that the Heat, Lakers, Clippers, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Suns and Wizards would be among the most interested teams if VanVleet is made available. He also throws in the Magic, who are seeking an experienced lead guard to play alongside their young core.
The Raptors will want a premium price if they decide to part with VanVleet, Pincus adds, with some combination of young talent, draft assets and players on team-friendly contracts.
Pincus looks at a few other guards who could be changing teams before the deadline:
- With the Hornets near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they may be willing to consider trading Terry Rozier, who has three more years and nearly $75MM left on his contract. Pincus notes that Charlotte discussed dealing Rozier to the Lakers last offseason and points out that Marc Stein recently identified the Suns as a possible suitor.
- Pincus hears that the Heat, Suns, Mavericks and Clippers would all be interested in trading for D’Angelo Russell if the Timberwolves can’t reach an extension soon with the impending free agent.
- Pincus lists the Lakers, Clippers and Timberwolves as teams in the market for Mike Conley if the Jazz decide to part with their veteran point guard. Conley has a $14.32MM guarantee on his $24.4MM salary for next season and would be much cheaper to acquire than Van Vleet.
- Eric Gordon is attracting interest from the Suns, Lakers and Bucks, but Pincus believes the Rockets may not get the first-round pick they want in return. He suggests Houston might have to settle for a pick swap, using the 2023 first-rounder the team is owed from Milwaukee.
- The Lakers haven’t given up trying to trade Russell Westbrook, but Pincus says they’re not willing to part with their two available first-round picks unless they get a star in return. He adds that L.A. may focus on smaller deals involving Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker in an effort to find wing depth or a backup big man.
- The Hawks aren’t looking to move Trae Young now, but a source tells Pincus that it could be a consideration during the offseason. Young has clashed with coach Nate McMillan, and Atlanta’s overall turmoil may lead the team to seek a fresh start.