Report: Lakers have interest in Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry ahead of this season’s trade deadline, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt.

The Toronto Raptors, who have underachieved so far this season, could be in the market to move several players at the deadline if they end up blowing up their roster.

VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. may make the most sense since both players have player options this coming offseason.

“The Raptors are a hot topic,” Zillgitt wrote. “Will they blow it up? Make minor moves? Do nothing at all? It’s another interesting situation because the Raptors have players other teams want, including Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes, the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year. Adding intrigue is the contract situations: Siakam and Anunoby can become free agents in 2024, VanVleet a free agent following this season and Barnes is looking for a significant raise on a rookie extension. The 17-23 Raptors have financial decisions to make at some point. Keep this in mind, too: Under team president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster, the Raptors are not known for major deals at the trade deadline. VanVleet is worth watching, and with his name linked to a possible Lakers deal, don’t discount a sly move for VanVleet by Orlando.”

The Lakers could view VanVleet as an upgrade at the point guard position, but they may have to move off of significant draft capital to do so. So far this season, Los Angeles has been reluctant to make a move that requires it to trade its first-round selections in the 2027 and 2029 drafts.

VanVleet has had a down year shooting the ball by his standards in the 2022-23 campaign. The one-time All-Star is shooting just 37.8 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from beyond the arc.

He is averaging 18.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game this season. While that may be an upgrade on some of the options the Lakers have at guard, VanVleet’s struggles are a cause for concern.

Los Angeles is also linked to Lowry, who is under contract through the 2023-24 season with the Miami Heat.

“The Heat are notoriously tight-lipped about their plans,” Zillgitt wrote. “But around the league, it’s believed the Heat are willing to shed Kyle Lowry’s contract, which pays him $29.6 million in 2023-24. The Heat, who reached the Finals in 2020 and the conference finals last season, are 21-20 and in eighth place. Lowry is another player who has been linked to a potential deal with the Lakers, and Minnesota sending D’Angelo Russell to Miami for Lowry would net the Heat an expiring contract.”

The Heat are currently the No. 8 seed in the East, so it’s hard to see them moving Lowry unless they are able to get something of value in return from the Lakers in a deal.

Los Angeles could dangle guard Russell Westbrook, who is on an expiring contract, but Westbrook has played well in a bench role for the team this season.

Lowry has seen his scoring decrease since coming to Miami, and the Lakers would have to be comfortable with paying him for another season if they were to make a deal.

Even though Los Angeles could use an upgrade on its roster, the Lakers aren’t in as bad a spot as many would think.

Los Angeles is currently the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference, but it is just 2.5 games behind the No. 6 seed Los Angeles Clippers. The team still can make up ground on the rest of the West, and Anthony Davis should return to the lineup at some point this season.

While VanVleet and Lowry are proven veteran guards, the Lakers must assess if they are worth the cost before making a trade this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.