The Minnesota Timberwolves are teetering on the edge of a cliff, their breakout season based on the addition of Rudy Gobert fading further from view, and the yawning maw of a losing season is stretched out before them. Their current three-game losing streak has dropped them to 13-15, 11th in the Western Conference. Their -1.8 point differential is tied for 22nd in the NBA, behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Wolves can’t afford to give up on the season, but other teams in similar situations may be more ready to move on from veterans. The Toronto Raptors are one such team, 13-15 themselves and in 10th place in the East.
Rumors are swirling that Toronto could do a more significant retooling of their roster. If so, would any of the players potentially available on the Raptors roster make sense for the Wolves to add? The Wolves have to add upgrades via the buyout market or the trade market, and the Raptors offer some intriguing options.
Pass or Pursue Timberwolves trade targets: Fred VanVleet
The Toronto Raptors have played two seasons now without a classic point guard in their rotation, instead sliding Fred VanVleet into the role and surrounding him with long wings and forwards. The seventh-year guard made the All-Star Team a season ago but this year is struggling in a major way, shooting just 37.2 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from deep, the latter a career-low.
As a pending free agent, VanVleet is a prime candidate to be discussed in trade talks if the Raptors decide to cut their losses this season and add a young talent in the draft to develop alongside Scottie Barnes. VanVleet’s defense and track record of shooting would make him a solid fit in D’Angelo Russell’s place in the lineup.
That being said, VanVleet’s success in past seasons likely keeps his trade value well above what the Wolves can afford with a single pick-swap, a few seconds, and the expiring contract of Russell to offer. This one probably dies on the vine very quickly.