Charania: Fred VanVleet is an option for the Lakers this summer
The biggest personnel question facing the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason is what to do with D’Angelo Russell.
He was a big reason they turned things around in the second half of the season after he arrived in the Russell Westbrook trade. He averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 48.4 percent overall and 41.4 percent from 3-point range in 17 regular season games with L.A., and he provided it with a steadying influence at the point guard spot.
But after Russell’s poor play in the Western Conference Finals, there is speculation the Lakers may not re-sign him this summer as a free agent and that they may send him out in a sign-and-trade.
If Russell leaves, either as a free agent or in a sign-and-trade, the big name being thrown around as a possibility for them is Kyrie Irving. But Shams Charania says to also watch Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (h/t Lakers Nation).
"I think Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet have to be at the top of the list for the Lakers this offseason" ~ @ShamsCharania #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/BwLH3fhPlK
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 25, 2023
“But even the bigger point now I think for the Lakers is how do we go into this offseason and manage the workload of LeBron James? Because he’s going in every night, being the number one option. Now I think he can do that at the age of 39. The question is, do the Lakers want to put him in that position? Does he want to be in that position? So they have to really build the roster out this offseason. Point guard position, D’Angelo Russell was benched. He’s on a max contract. He was benched the last game of the season in the playoffs, in Game 4. What do they do at that position? I think they’ll be aggressive potentially when looking at that position. Kyrie Irving’s out there. Fred VanVleet. When you look at the market place this upcoming offseason, I think Kyrie Irving and Fred VanVleet have to be at the top of the list. I’m not saying either are likely for the Lakers, but I think if you’re the Lakers, you have to look at both of those guys and see if there are any options you can exhaust.”
VanVleet is a seven-year, 29-year-old veteran who averaged 19.3 points and 7.2 assists a game last season. He would bring the experience of being a member of Toronto’s 2019 NBA championship team.
However, he is a very inefficient player who shot just 39.3 percent overall and 34.2 percent from downtown in the regular season. The Lakers still need better 3-point shooting, and VanVleet may not be able to help in that department.