The Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors, on the surface, appear to be ideal trade partners. The Clippers, ever since the dawn of the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era, have been looking to bolster their floor general situation, while the Raptors, currently at 23-30, appear willing to finally face the music and sell off some of their core pieces, such as Fred VanVleet. And to the Clippers’ credit, they are reportedly watching the VanVleet situation closely.
However, prying him away from the Raptors may be prove to be more complicated than first thought.
Per Michael Grange of Sportsnet Canada, the overarching belief around Fred VanVleet seems to be that his preference is to stay with the Raptors.
VanVleet triggered some alarm bells when rumors of him hiring Klutch Sports as his new agency of representation surfaced. Some wondered whether this meant that a move was imminent. However, as Grange noted, the Raptors brass, specifically Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster, are not too worried about dealing with the polarizing agency.
Moreover, the Raptors do have the means to keep Fred VanVleet (and even Gary Trent Jr.) without venturing into luxury tax territory. Thus, the Raptors, despite all the trade talks, could very well end up keeping the man affectionately known as “Steady Freddy”.
As for the Clippers, they may have to look towards other targets in light of this recent development. They could, perhaps, focus more intently on trading for Kyle Lowry or Mike Conley, although they are unlikely to get those two as well.
The Clippers have only a little over a week before the NBA Trade Deadline to decide which direction to pursue.