There is a good chance that a rebuild is coming in the near future for the Toronto Raptors. They recently let go of head coach Nick Nurse, and there have been rumors of them shopping for some of their most talented players. The team is likely looking to liquidate their veteran players into draft picks and begin to build the team around Scottie Barnes.
As a result of this, Fred VanFleet likely will not resign from the team. However, with the 2023 free agency class being one of the weaker classes in recent history, VanFleet will be one of the most sought-after players in free agency this year. There are three contending teams that would be more than happy to add him to their roster heading into the 2023-24 season.
The first team that could make a move for VanFleet over the offseason is the Los Angeles Lakers. While the Lakers will not have the cap space to sign VanFleet, they could perform a sign and trade built around sending D’Angelo Russell to the Raptors and adding VanFleet.
Last season, Russell got off to a very strong start with the Lakers after joining the team at the trade deadline, however, it did not carry into the postseason. In their series against the Denver Nuggets, he was a nonfactor and did more harm than good in helping his team try to advance to the NBA Finals. VanFleet would provide the team with a consistent source of offense and is also a very solid distributor.
The Philadelphia 76ers could be in need of adding a player like VanFleet to their team this off-season. After another disappointing second-round exit from the playoffs, there is a strong chance that James Harden leaves the team. Harden’s departure should free up enough cap space for the 76ers to be able to sign VanFleet without giving up any assets to trade for him.
If he were to join the team, VanFleet would be a much more consistent playoff performer than Harden has been in his two seasons with the team. Along with this, there is a strong chance that they would be able to sign VanFleet for less than what they were paying Harden. This means that they would be able to further fill out their bench with players that better complement Joel Embiid’s game.
The final team that would be an incredible landing spot for Fred VanFleet is the New Orleans Pelicans. This would likely require the Pelicans to give up some draft capital and perform a sign and trade that sends C.J. McCollum and some picks to the Raptors for VanFleet.
With McCollum beginning to show signs of regression, it could be time to move on from him. If Zion Williamson is able to remain healthy through the 2023-24 season, the Pelicans could be one of the most dangerous teams in the Western Conference. VanFleet would be incredibly valuable to have on the roster during the postseason and would also be the only player on the roster with championship experience.
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