The Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors both have big off-seasons ahead of them. Near the top of their to-do lists will be negotiations with guards D'Angelo Russell and Fred VanVleet, and a possible scenario sees them switching teams this summer via a sign-and-trade, reports The Athletic's Jovan Buha.
“Landing Kyrie Irving for Russell is shaping up to be a pipe dream, especially with Dallas unlikely to help Los Angeles out. Fred VanVleet, a Klutch client, looms as a possibility, but adding him would require Toronto to agree to terms with Russell (or take on the Beasley and Bamba contracts).”
It looks like the original dream of bringing Kyrie Irving to Los Angeles might be out of the question. However, a sign-and-trade with the Raptors makes sense for the Lakers, as both D'Angelo Russell and Fred VanVleet would give their new teams valued skillsets.
D'Angelo Russell staying in Los Angeles seems to be out of the realm of possibility at this point. The Lakers are looking like they are going to prioritize keeping Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, and will have no problem letting go of Russell in order to do so. Not to mention, having names like Irving and VanVleet being floated around does not give a promising outlook for the Lakers wanting to keep Russell.
VanVleet projects to be a sure departure from Toronto as well; his relationship with Masai Ujiri has reportedly deteriorated and he most likely wants to be on a team with a better chance of contending for the NBA Finals. With both D'Angelo Russell and Fred VanVleet likely on their way out, a sign-and-trade between the Lakers and Raptors could make a lot of sense.