3 key reasons Raptors need to extend Fred VanVleet ASAP

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 18: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 18: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors have struck gold in Fred VanVleet, as the former undrafted free agent earned the biggest contract in NBA history for a player who was not picked in the NBA Draft. He also became the first undrafted player since Ben Wallace to be named an All-Star. 

VanVleet averaged 20.3 points and 6.7 assists per game last year while showing off his unmatched defense. Rumors that suggest the Raptors and VanVleet want to get a contract extension done make sense when you look at what he has meant to this team over the last few seasons.

The Raptors may not think they have to get an extension done with VanVleet right now, as he still has most of his four-year contract to go. However, showing a commitment to VanVleet and his status as one of the team’s leaders could be the best way to provide even more organizational stability.

Masai Ujiri might have a ton on his plate when it comes to making sure that the Raptors will stay competitive for the next few seasons. Despite that monumental task, the first domino that should fall is extending VanVleet as soon as he possibly can.

3 reasons the Toronto Raptors must extend Fred VanVleet.

1. His value to the team.

The draft and development mindset has helped the Raptors sustain their success, but they need to ensure that he stays in town for that philosophy to maximize its value. VanVleet is more than just a high-level scorer who carries the offense, as he is a standout leader and master defender.

On top of the fact that VanVleet was one of the best 3-point shooters in the league over the last few years, he ranked near the top of the league in steals and deflections. He put together an All-Star season on a No. 5 seed while playing most of the second half of the year on balky knees.

Fred VanVleet does so much for the Toronto Raptors.

Replacing VanVleet would entail finding an All-Defensive Team defender on the open market, someone who can be counted on to hit multiple clutch 3-pointers every night, a quality passer who can lead the offense, and a vocal locker room alpha. Good luck unearthing that gem!

Pascal Siakam might be the most statistically proficient player on the roster, and Scottie Barnes will help lead the next decade of Raptors basketball. Still, VanVleet is the straw that stirs the proverbial drink. Letting him potentially choose a rival in free agency is a nightmare scenario.