Amit Mann is joined by Yahoo Sports Sr. NBA Writer Jake Fischer to assess the likelihood Fred VanVleet is dealt by the NBA trade deadline. The full episode can be listened to on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed.
AMIT MANN: Fred VanVleet. Let's start with him. Fred VanVleet. It's like, what is your sense on what could be happening with him in a few weeks, and what is his interest and not being with the Toronto Raptors?
JAKE FISHER: Yeah. So I look at predicting and kind of understanding the trade market and free agency as if I was the 31st front office. Right? So to do that, I mean, you kind of have to look at all angles of the transaction, which, for this question, it's Fred VanVleet's interest in Toronto or, potentially, interest outside of it. It's the Raptors interest in keeping him and at what salary number, and then it would be rival teams' interest in acquiring him. and then at what salary number.
And let's start with the last one I just said, because I don't currently see a ton of teams who are searching for $30 million point guard, starting high, starting level-- high-caliber starting-level point guards right now, especially on that salary. You look at Kyle Lowry in Miami, look at D'Aneglo Russell in Minnesota, those are two names that have been floating around the trade market as well. Doesn't seem like a huge, huge, huge market for that type of salary to be moved right now.
Fred's a little bit different in that he's younger than Kyle Lowry, and he's considered to be more of a two-way presence than D'Aneglo is and more of a just sturdy floor general. Right? But at the same time, I think there's definitely mutual interest on both sides of Toronto and Fred from everything I've heard to have him stick around. It doesn't seem-- typically, when a contract is coming up, and a player option is on the table, and that leads to a trade situation, it's something like Gary Trent where the expectation is that the salary number the player is searching for is a little bit higher than that player's valuation or the thought that a player wouldn't want to stay there, i.e. Kyle Kuzma and Washington, I'm not saying that is going to be the case, but there is definitely a belief around the league, right, that Kyle Kuzma might not want to stick around Washington and that could prevent or that could preempt a trade here at the deadline.
But with Fred, to bring this to a close, I do think that there is plenty of opportunity for him to stick around, to resign, depending on what this direction the Raptors choose to go. Because you mentioned, you know, something earlier about him being hurt and-- at the end of last season and kind of hoping he would be able to reemerge this year and the lack of focus on point-guard depth. There is definitely a thought that the Raptors have kicked around, it seems, that, you know, what if we just don't have a point guard? Right? There's a lot of success in the postseason with Pascal and Scottie handling ball.
So maybe at this point in time, maybe that is something that'll really start to kick around. I'm not sure that's the case. I think Fred has been so, so, so valuable for this post-Kyle Lowry era here. But then again, when someone-- I remember speaking to someone with the Raptors during Kyle Lowry's last season, and his thought was, we kind of need to move this guy to open the door for other people to take a step forward, and that might end up being the case with Fred, too.
AMIT MANN: Yeah. Or we could be having the same conversation about Fred and Scottie, which is the interesting part. OK, so that's-- that's Fred. And he did appear on JJ Redick's podcast recently. He talked about his role, how it's changed, how it's impacted his play. And then, also, he was asked about his contract status, and he said that he didn't-- he wasn't given an offer by the Raptors during the offseason and that, essentially, he was going to make it hard on them, and they were going to make it hard on him, which is very common, right?
That's how negotiations work. The player is trying to get as much as they can, and the team is trying to withhold as much money as possible to build out their rosters. So I don't really make too much of those comments, but it's-- you would think, though, that with the Raptors and Fred, the loyalty that they've had to each other and the good working relationship-- no earlier than, like, this season, right? Opening-- or media day, you had Nick and Masai Ujiri talking about how great Fred is and how impactful he's been, his career trajectory.
It's unprecedented for an undrafted player to get to where he is now, so I would not be surprised if the Raptors--