Timberwolves’ reported interest in Fred VanVleet is concerning

Fred VanVleet, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Fred VanVleet, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves are staying active ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. Several players are available that could make sense as the Wolves build for the playoffs, and multiple teams around the league have shown interest in Minnesota’s players as well.

One thing is for sure: the Timberwolves are in desperate need of draft capital. After trading for Rudy Gobert last summer, their draft assets have been depleted. If the Wolves were to run across a deal that involved them getting back one or more first-round picks, it would be something they would have to consider.

Of course, talk around trading D’Angelo Russell is still looming. While it feels less likely that he gets moved at this point, he is still a hot commodity around the league. Minnesota’s hand might be forced to deal him as more new names and proposals come in.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been connected to Fred VanVleet in trade talks

One such new name that was linked to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday was the Raptors’ Fred VanVleet. As Toronto continues to downspiral, the team is weighing their options and could be looking to offload their star players to join the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer reported that the Timberwolves “have registered interest in VanVleet.” With D’Angelo Russell being at the center of Minnesota trade talks for months, it is not hard to put two and two together here.

Fred VanVleet is expected to decline his player option for next season in favor of seeking a bigger pay day that approaches a maximum salary, according to Fischer. While Fred is certainly a great player in a vacuum, the Timberwolves going hard after him would have to concern fans.

Pursuing Fred VanVleet could be a huge mistake for Minnesota

Acquiring VanVleet and then paying him in the offseason would be the same situation financially for the Timberwolves as keeping D’Angelo Russell and then inking him to a new deal. After all, both players will command a contract north of $30M per year.

But giving VanVleet the keys to Minnesota’s offense would be a significantly worse decision than keeping Russell around for a few reasons, the biggest of which would be his lack of size. While FVV embodies the “height over heart” mindset, his 6’1″ stature puts him in a natural disadvantage on the basketball court. At 6’4″, D’Angelo Russell is simply in a better position to read defenses.

The other major advantage to choosing D-Lo in the long term would be age. While there is not a massive age difference between the two, VanVleet being 28 years old would mean they have a lesser chance of maximizing their window as a playoff contender than if they chose to invest in Russell.

Some Timberwolves fans have been disgruntled with D’Angelo Russell this season, and the franchise may be looking to move on from him this offseason anyway. But swapping him out for Fred VanVleet would be not be the wisest decision at this point in time.

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