Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet or Norman Powell as the shooting guard?

Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Financial Consideration

Toronto Raptors
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 03: Fred VanVleet (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /

Raptors’ management may have already determined the choice between Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell. As mentioned, the salary cap for the upcoming season is unknown. If the NHL’s salary cap stance is any indication, the NBA’s salary cap will not increase this year either.

Further, whether salary cap flexibility is the Raptors’ management goal for the 2021 off-season to acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo or some other grand plan, locking the franchise into committed salaries now ruins that strategy.

Also, the Toronto Raptors, depending on whether they re-sign Serge Ibaka or not, just shed 49 million dollars in salary at the center position. Kyle Lowry will make 30 million next season. A massive salary increase for Fred VanVleet does not make sense. It would likely mean spending at least 50 million at the point guard spot.

Fred VanVleet made 9 million in 2019/20. There is chatter that several teams will show interest in Fred VanVleet, potentially driving up the price for his services. However, in the NBA, a stagnant or diminished salary cap could allow the Raptors to keep Fred VanVleet. For his part, VanVleet is open to returning to Toronto:

"“But, I mean, I’ve been on record about how I feel about this place,” the fourth-year guard said. “This organization knows how I feel about this place. So in a perfect world, we know what would happen.“"

If a bidding war signifies that Fred VanVleet can earn more than 20-25 million a season, his return to Toronto is not prudent and prevents the team from making the necessary roster changes it needs. Finally, Norman Powell has two more years on his four-year 42 million dollar deal he signed in 2017. Those two years are at a manageable 10.8 million dollars this coming season and 11.6 million in 2021/22.

It’s a tough decision.  Both Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell have played integral parts in the Raptors’ success in recent years. Norman Powell has earned the nickname “playoff Powell” for some outstanding playoff moments. Fred VanVleet is known as “steady Freddy” as he makes big plays and plays hard all the time.

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When you eliminate the emotional considerations and examine the choice objectively, the decision about who should be the Toronto Raptors starting shooting guard is emphatically Norman Powell.