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Should the Timberwolves Have Interest in Raptors Guard Fred VanVleet?

Minnesota is expected to show interest in the Toronto engine if he does not agree to an extension before the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, according to Bleacher Report.

Toronto Raptors v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

The Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline is drawing nearer by the day, and Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet is a sweet sounding name on the market to potential suitors like the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report spoke glaringly about VanVleet’s contract situation and the potentiality for a deal to be made featuring the 2022 NBA All-Star:

“Either the Raptors and VanVleet will extend their marriage, or the team will look to get value for him in a trade before the deadline,” Pincus pointed out. “If it’s the latter, several playoff contenders (at least teams that consider themselves playoff contenders) would have interest, such as the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards. So, too, would the Orlando Magic, per multiple NBA sources.”

VanVleet brings alluring qualities to the table. Championship experience is of the essence, as the 2019 Larry O’Brien trophy winner was integral in the Raptors defeating the Golden State Warriors.

Bryn Forbes is the only player on the Wolves’ roster to have played in an NBA Finals. Bringing into the fold a proven winner in VanVleet, who emanates stoicism and poise in highly pressurized situations would help combat unanticipated runs conceded in the playoffs.

VanVleet thrives off of catching-and-shooting from distance, adept and decisive in connecting on trifectas from 28 feet and in. He has microwave-like tendencies that make him liable to take over stretches of the game, and he does so while taking great care of the basketball (1.7 TO).

Minnesota Timberwolves v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

Truth be told though, VanVleet plays at a stop-and-go speed akin to D’Angelo Russell – the player who would likely be flipped for the 28-year-old Wichita State product. VanVleet is also shooting a suboptimal 38.9% from the field on 15.8 shot attempts per game. For his career, he shoots 40.2% from the floor.

Minnesota’s front office must be cognizant of VanVleet’s inefficiency – including a career-low 34.1% shooting from the 3-point line – when envisioning his impact on the team. A reserve role produced the same efficiency rates as a starting role. A lesser role behind Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry produced like efficiency rates as his elevated role as one of the vanguards of the team.

If VanVleet were to take his talents to Minnesota, he’d reunite with Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch. Finch was an assistant on the Raptors in the 2020-21 NBA season before he left the bench midseason to take the head coaching job with the Wolves. It must be noted as well that VanVleet is expected to sign with Klutch Sports, according to longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein.

Minnesota needs a facilitator who can play fast and swing the ball with verve in the half court. VanVleet is capable of both. They also need a player who will play above average defense – which VanVleet has shown a propensity to do. But is it worth obtaining a starkly less efficient point guard who will be looking to decline his $22.8 million contract for next season in hopes of an even grander payday? These essential questions and the answers they yield will play a major role in the direction the Wolves take.