The Los Angeles Clippers just can’t seem to keep their eyes off the Toronto Raptors.
Three-and-a-half years after the team signed Kawhi Leonard away from Toronto just weeks after the 2019 NBA Finals, the Clippers have their sights set on another pair of players from that championship team, per a recent report.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote today about the Clippers’ interest in veteran point guard Mike Conley, as covered first by independent NBA insider Marc Stein on January 16. But with other teams also interested in Conley, O’Connor suggested the Clippers could be keeping their eyes on a duo that used to share the Raptors’ backcourt for six seasons: Miami’s Kyle Lowry and/or Toronto’s Fred VanVleet.
“The Jazz will likely hold out for the best possible offer until closer to the deadline. So L.A. must scour the rest of the league. League sources say the Clippers are also interested in Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet,” O’Connor wrote in an article today.
Since the Raptors’ title in 2019, three players have since joined the Clippers: Leonard, Serge Ibaka, and Norman Powell, who found his way to Los Angeles after being sent to Portland in exchange for Gary Trent Jr.
It’s the second team in the last day to show interest in a trade for VanVleet, who was linked to a possible trade to Phoenix by Stein earlier today.
VanVleet has averaged 19.1 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.3 rebounds in 39 games this season, while Lowry has averaged 12.8 points, 5.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 39 games this season.
VanVleet is under contract for one more year with Toronto as part of a four-year, $80 million deal, but has a player option for the 2023-24 season that he is expected to opt out of this summer in order to sign a new, more lucrative contract.
Lowry is in the second year of a three-year, $85 million deal with Miami.
VanVleet had called Lowry his “best friend” earlier this season when the Heat were visiting Toronto, with Lowry admitting he still watches every game.
“We talk about all types of things. Life, family, everything,” VanVleet said to Daily Hive of his friendship with Lowry. “We talk basketball, he watches all of our games, believe it or not. I watch as many games of them as I can stomach. I’m a Kyle fan, I’m not really a Heat fan. But we talk. We talk about everything, and he’s helping me through this transition of me running the show now, being here and I always lean on him for advice and he’s always there in my corner to help me and vice versa.”
The NBA trade deadline is set for February 9.
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