Report: Suns, Magic possible free-agent suitors for Raptors’ VanVleet

The Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic have emerged as potential free-agent suitors for Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleetaccording to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.

VanVleet has a player option for $22.8 million next season, but could enter free agency should he choose to decline it.

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The 28-year-old, who earned an All-Star selection last season, had a dip in performance so far this season. Through 36 games, he’s averaging 18.2 points and 6.3 assists, but shooting 37.6 per cent from the field and 32.8 per cent from three-point range.

“Some nights the ball finds you and some nights it doesn’t. That’s where I’m struggling this year, the out-of-rhythm games,” VanVleet told JJ Redick on The Old Man and the Three podcast on Jan. 6, in relation to how his role has changed this season.

“I might get a couple catch and shoots, a couple contested shots, off the dribble… and then I get three wide-open ones at the end of the game when we need them.”

Days later, VanVleet elaborated on his contract situation, after reports surfaced he turned down a max-extension offer worth $114 million with the Raptors before the season.

“There was never a formal offer made. It was a mutual decision made by both sides that the smart thing to do would be to wait it out,” VanVleet said. “There was no rush given that I could still sign the extension all the way through the end of the season.”

Charania, who calls Toronto the most fascinating team to watch before the Feb. 9 trade deadline, also reports the Raptors have “significant interest” in San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (a former Raptors draft pick traded in the Kawhi Leonard deal) and are among the teams interested in Detroit Pistons sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic.

Amid the Raptors’ subpar season, Charania writes that teams across the NBA are monitoring the availability of Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr. and VanVleet, should Toronto decide to rebuild.

“Without a doubt, the Raptors have the full attention of everyone across the NBA,” Charania says.

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