The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t had the start to the 2022-23 season that they were hoping for. They have struggled with injuries to key players and inconsistent play up and down their lineup all season long, and the result has been a 23-24 record, which is good for just eighth place in the Western Conference right now.
Things could always be worse for the Clippers, though, and the Toronto Raptors serve as a prime example of that theory. The Raptors are just 20-25 so far this season, which is way below expectations, and they currently find themselves in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, which wouldn’t even be good enough for them to qualify for the Play-In Tournament at this point.
Both teams are heading into the upcoming 2023 NBA trade deadline in an interesting spot, and they may benefit greatly from pulling off a trade with each other centered around Fred VanVleet. Let’s take a look at a hypothetical trade between the two sides (courtesy of ESPN’s Bobby Marks) and see whether this deal would make sense for both sides.
Clippers get: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Juancho Hernangomez
Raptors get: Jason Preston, Brandon Boston Jr., Robert Covington, Amir Coffery, 2028 1st-round pick top-five protected (becomes second-round picks in 2028 and 2029 if not conveyed)
VanVleet wasn’t expected to be a potential trade chip for the Raptors, but that’s just how the season has gone for them. VanVleet has taken a pretty big step back in terms of his production this season, and he’s been just one reason for the Raptors struggles this season. It’s to the point where VanVleet’s name is actively in rumors, and there’s a decent shot he gets moved prior to the deadline.
The Clippers would be a team obviously interested in VanVleet because their point guard rotation of John Wall and Reggie Jackson hasn’t exactly worked out this season. VanVleet hasn’t been having the best season (18.7 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.4 RPG, 38.4 FG%) but he still would be a vast upgrade over the duo the Clippers are currently rolling with.