1. Fred VanVleet
It is still baffling that all the general managers in the NBA in 2016 watched Fred VanVleet dominate his entire collegiate career, including multiple NCAA tournaments, and still no one drafted him.
Now he is arguably the most sought after free agent in the entire class of 2020, and that speaks to how well he has played in his four seasons in Toronto, including a championship run in 2018-19.
After Kawhi Leonard’s departure in free agency last season, VanVleet became much more important this season and developed into a borderline all-star level player. Last season not only did he average 17.6 points per game, he also had 6.6 assists, on the same team as Kyle Lowry who had 7.5 assists per game and more ball-handling responsibilities.
Imagine what VanVleet would be able to do with full-time starting point guard minutes and more of the playmaking responsibilities. He could get the most out of his game and could get a big chunk of change if he wanted to be the starting point guard for the Lakers next season.
There is no other team than perhaps the Milwaukee Bucks and the Clippers, where VanVleet could go to start and still be in title contention. But it is more likely that the Raptors try to retain their valuable asset that has been an undervalued commodity until now.
His price point could be the reason why Toronto could decide to let him walk in free agency this offseason, especially since they already employ franchise legend, Kyle Lowry, at point guard.
The Lakers project to have potentially up to 34 million available to spend in free agency, so even though VanVleet might seem like a far fetched signing, they are one of the teams with the space to make a big offer to him.
At 26 years of age, VanVleet is another ideal candidate to pair with Davis for a two-star combination in the post LeBron era. VanVleet might not be in the “star” category just yet, but he has improved in every season and his numbers continue to go up with his minutes.
He is also a candidate for a sign and trade type of deal if Toronto tries to not let VanVleet walk for nothing. Lake Show Life’s Jonathan Kiernan broke down how the Lakers could make that type of deal happen.
Whether they go after VanVleet or go in another direction, the Lakers can clearly improve the roster in a variety of ways this offseason. If they are going to repeat as champions next season, they will definitely need to do so.