Basketball Vintino is reporting that the Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets are interested in trading for Toronto Raptors' Greivis Vasquez.Toronto (49-33) won the Atlantic Division for a second straight year but the Raptors are in need of a roster shakeup after being swept in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs by the Washington Wizards. The Raptors, who were No. 4 in the NBA in scoring during the regular season, topped the century mark just once in their four game series against the Wizards and were blown out in the final game (125-94).
Vasquez, 28, is a solid backup point guard with the ability to start when called upon. He is coming off one of his worst seasons of his six-year NBA career. Vasquez will make $6.6 million this upcoming season, which is manageable for teams interested in trading for him as he is in the final-year of his contract.Vasquez averaged 9.5 points, 3.7 assists and 2.6 rebounds in 82 games (29 starts) last season. He shot 40.8% percent from the field, though he did make a career-best 37.9% of his three-point attempts.
Vasquez can play all three perimeter positions and possesses excellent court vision. He is a good passer, though he didn't have an overabundance of assists last season, and doesn't turn the ball over a ton (1.5 per game). Vasquez is not a major scoring threat but he has improved his long-distance shooting -- he made 1.6 three-pointers a game last season though 48.4 percent of his shot attempts came from beyond the arc.
Defensively, Vasquez's length gives opposing point guards trouble. However, his lack of foot speed hinders him defensively. According to Basketball-Reference, Vasquez recorded a defensive rating of 110 in 2014-15-- which is his career average rating.
It will be interesting to see what type of value Vasquez brings back to Toronto in any trade.
Houston's interest in Vasquez is not surprising as the Rockets need to upgrade their ball-handling. ESPN reported that James Harden, who committed an NBA-record 13 turnovers in the Rockets Game loss to Golden State in the Western Conference finals, has said he wants to alleviate some of his ball-handling responsibilities next season.
If the Rockets do trade for Vasquez, he could end up as their starting point guard as last year's starter Patrick Beverley is a restricted free agent. Jason Terry, who has the ability to play point guard, is 37-years old and an unrestricted free agent while Pablo Prigini, the other point guard on the roster, is 38-years old. Houston has two draft picks in the upcoming draft and is projected to pick Duke guard Tyus Jones with their first round selection.
Hoop Rumors is reporting that the Rockets could offer the Raptors some cap relief by including Kostas Papanikolaou in any deal involving the teams. Papanikolaou has a team option valued at $5.5 million though it is not guaranteed until October -- if Houston picks the option up. The Rockets have said they would like to keep Papanikolaou.
Minnesota is expected to take forward/center Karl Anthony-Towns with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft on Thursday and has put former No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett on the trading block. Bennett, a Canadian, would have some national appeal but NBC Sports stated that the Raptors would want more than just him in any trade. Bennett averaged 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 57 games for the Timberwolves last year.
The Timberwolves currently have Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine as their top two point guards. However, there are rumors that Rubio may be on his way out of Minnesota and LaVine is better suited to play shooting guard.
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