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Lakers reportedly interested in guard Fred VanVleet

As the Lakers look for upgrades this summer, one name that continues to be linked to the purple and gold is Raptors guard Fred VanVleet.

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

While Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka spoke about his desire for continuity this offseason, the team is also eyeing upgrades across the roster as well. After coming perilously close to another NBA Finals appearance, the Lakers aren’t far off from being at the top of the league again.

Internally, the name mentioned most often is D’Angelo Russell. After struggling in the final series of the postseason, D’Lo has become perhaps the most likely candidate to be dealt in search of an upgrade.

Externally, one player that continues to be linked to the Lakers is Fred VanVleet. The Raptors guard, and perhaps more notably Klutch client, is set for unrestricted free agency this summer after failing to agree to an extension with Toronto during the season.

The latest person to link the Lakers to VanVleet is Michael Scotto of HoopsHype in his latest article.

After a mutual decision by VanVleet and the Raptors to hold off extension talks that would’ve potentially landed him a four-year, $114 million contract, which is considered below his market value, Toronto remains in the mix to re-sign the 2022 All-Star guard.

However, several other teams, including the Rockets, Lakers, Suns, and Magic, have been linked to VanVleet as potential suitors, while other playoff-caliber teams could emerge as sign-and-trade options.

Scotto also mentions in the piece that the expectation for VanVleet is a contract clearing $30 million annually. It doesn’t take a cap expert to quickly realize that is a difficult proposition for the Lakers to acquire him.

Effectively, the only way it’s possible is in a double sign-and-trade for D’Lo and VanVleet, which requires a lot of things to happen. Most important among those is that Toronto must be interested in D’Lo as a free agent.

Even if all that plays out and the Lakers can trade for VanVleet, it raises a whole other set of issues for the Lakers in terms of roster-building as acquiring him would hard-cap the team. With Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura’s restricted free agency, things could go haywire in retaining both of them, particularly if one of them gets a big offer sheet.

Because of that, it remains unlikely that VanVleet is that serious of an option for the Lakers. Again though, it’s noteworthy that his name keeps coming up even given those circumstances. There’s smoke, but does that mean there’s fire? It’s hard to imagine the Lakers hard-capping themselves, particularly for VanVleet, but we’ll get the answer relatively soon.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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