Fred VanVleet turning down nine-figure extension could be foolish

TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 6: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors reacts against the New York Knicks (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 6: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors reacts against the New York Knicks (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The poor play of Toronto Raptors star Fred VanVleet has been well-documented this season, as many have started to fall out of love with the diminutive point guard thanks to nights where it seems like he’s chucking the ball randomly. With a big contract coming, VanVleet picked a bad time to regress.

VanVleet is almost assuredly going to opt out of the final year of his contract and hit the free agent market in the offseason, eyeing a nine-figure contract that makes him one of the highest-paid guards in the league. The latest reports suggest that Toronto and VanVleet aren’t seeing eye to eye on a deal.

According to Josh Lewenberg of TSN and Michael Grange of SportsNet, VanVleet turned down an extension that would have paid him $114 million over the next four seasons, instead choosing to resume his contract talks at the end of the season. Considering how poorly he has played, that could come back to bite him.

Lewenberg also reported that the four-year, $130 million contract that Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro received this offseason is the starting point for VanVleet’s camp in negotiations. Considering his play this year, he’s taking quite a huge risk by not putting pen to paper.

Fred VanVleet did not sign an extension with the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors may have to pay Pascal Siakam supermax money if he makes All-NBA again, and Gary Trent Jr. has played so well that he’s made a compelling case for a nine-figure deal. With Scottie Barnes in place to potentially take over as an oversized point guard, Toronto may not have a spot for VanVleet.

VanVleet is shooting just 37% from the field and 32% from 3-point range despite playing 37 minutes per game and taking 16 shots per game. Due to the poor roster construction giving him a lack of perimeter support, VanVleet has been forced to take all sorts of unusual shots.

As such, VanVleet has been mentioned as a popular trade candidate. Moving him to a contender in exchange for a package that brings back two promising young players and multiple first-round picks might be more in line with how Ujiri wants to build this roster.

The Raptors have seen VanVleet go from a random UDFA pickup out of Wichita State to one of the greatest undrafted players in NBA history. However, they need to be conscious of how much money they’re spending on him, and he could overplay his hand and reach a point of no return.

Next. 5 teams who could trade for Fred VanVleet. dark