The Phoenix Suns have been mentioned among the teams interested in pursuing Fred VanVleet in free agency this offseason.
Fred VanVleet will be one of the hottest free agents available when the season concludes and because of that, we here at Valley of the Suns have speculated on how good of a fit he might be with the Phoenix Suns on numerous occasions. Now, we can ratchet this idea up from blogger theory to legitimate rumor as Shams Charania named the Suns, among the teams interested in ValVleet’s services.
According to The Athletic (subscription required), the Pistons, Knicks, and Raptors are the other teams showing interest in pursuing VanVleet in free agency, so we have a bidding war on our hands.
Should the Phoenix Suns go after Fred VanVleet in free agency?
VanVleet currently makes $9 million per year, but according to Bobby Marks on ESPN’s Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective Podcast back in December, he could demand between $25-$30 million per season.
VanVleet is a very good player, but that is Devin Booker-caliber money, so the Suns will want to be extremely sure he is the point guard of the future if they choose to pay that.
In order for the Suns to be able to even afford a salary, they would have to work out a sign-and-trade deal that would include someone like Kelly Oubre so they can off-load salary and bring him in.
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Honestly, though, I don’t see how VanVleet fits this team right now. He would have to start, which means either Rubio would be relegated to the bench or they would play a three-guard lineup of Rubio, VanVleet, and Booker. That isn’t bad on the surface, but considering Mikal Bridges has made it such that he is impossible not to start, you’d be looking at a VanVleet, Rubio, Booker, Bridges, and Ayton lineup.
Maybe that would work? The Houston Rockets have made small-ball a thing, so a lineup like this could be the way of the future. Kind of like my argument for the Suns drafting Luka Doncic, the organization and this coaching staff would make it work.
For the Raptors this season, VanVleet has averaged 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game. That is very good, and he is showing signs of continual improvement, but will the Suns really pay the same amount of money for that as they do Booker?
Maybe. The free-agent market is light this year and so there is about to be a lot of over-paying going on from around the league. The Phoenix Suns may have to join in on that to add more quality talent to this roster.