In the early stages of the offseason, it seemed like Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet was a lock to be extended. A four-year deal that would get into nine figures would make the highest-paid undrafted player in NBA history even more wealthy following an All-Star season.
VanVleet is close to free agency once again, and the Raptors would completely fall apart if they were to lose one of the few 2019 holdovers still on the team. The first undrafted player in 15 years to be named an All-Star, any team with VanVleet as the starting point guard could compete for a championship.
Extension talks have died down in recent weeks despite everyone involved agreeing on his impact on the team. Fans holding their breath can be comforted by the fact that VanVleet is reportedly on board with the Raptors and would be a fan of signing long-term with the team once again, per his Media Day quotes.
“I will just say that I love being a Raptor,” VanVleet said via Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. “I have a great relationship with management, ownership, coaching staff. There’s nothing I could really ever complain about being on this team.” VanVleet said that he is not willing, however, to give an update on where talks are financially.
Will the Toronto Raptors extend Fred VanVleet?
VanVleet’s on-court performances are worthy of a hefty extension, as he topped 20 points per game from the field for the first time while remaining one of the game’s best 3-point shooters. Early in the season and during an uneven December run, VanVleet carried this team.
The Raptors are in an unusual position right now, as they need to figure out how to extend nearly all of their starting lineup in the near future. Gary Trent Jr. could hit free agency after this season, Pascal Siakam could become supermax eligible soon, and Scottie Barnes will be eyeing a new deal.
The Raptors losing VanVleet would be a death knell in the mighty Eastern Conference. Every other team in their division is either getting better or sustaining elite performance. If it comes to this, VanVleet could really put the screws to management by illustrating how much his departure would hurt.
VanVleet is one of the few great Raptors who chose to stay in Toronto when everyone else left for greener pastures. Both sides seem to be on board with a reunion for the next few years, even if VanVleet hasn’t put pen to paper yet. No. 23 leaving Toronto just seems too alien to comprehend right now.