3. There are few comparable alternatives.
The only way the Raptors could possibly justify not extending VanVleet to the fanbase is getting an irrefutable commitment from one player of equal or greater value to join them. Unfortunately, elite point guards remain scarce, making it tough to find someone else who could join them.
When looking at the list of point guards who averaged over 20 points per game, the only players who could conceivably be on the move via trade are Damian Lillard and De’Aaron Fox. I’d put the chances of the Raptors getting either one of them at less than one percent. There aren’t five other VanVleets waiting to be found out there.
The Toronto Raptors can’t replace Fred VanVleet.
Everyone worth their salt at the point guard position is either locked-up long-term or in the process of being locked up. With Toronto likely to be on the fringes of a playoff spot with this current roster configuration, drafting a future star in the lottery is likely out of the question.
VanVleet is one of the most uncommon success stories in the league, and choosing to play chicken with him may lead to VanVleet declining his player option and testing the free agent market. He’s an All-Star and a champion that quickly has become the focal point in Toronto.