Raptors free agency: 3 teams who could steal Fred VanVleet away

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 19: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Raptors face the very distinct possibility of losing Fred VanVleet in free agency. While they will likely bend over backward to appease him and keep him in town, the firing of Nick Nurse and his likely exorbitant price tag create some serious obstacles that could come in the way of him achieving his full potential.

VanVleet is likely going to earn a contract that costs well into nine figures, which could make things financially difficult for a Raptors team that will likely retain Jakob Poeltl in free agency while also saving up enough space to give Scottie Barnes a big deal in the coming future.

VanVleet had his struggles last season, as the unsightly shooting percentages and the ill-advised shots in crunch time are still fresh in the minds of so many Raptors fans. Bringing him back does certainly have its benefits, but it is not a done deal, given how he often looked like an incongruous fit.

The Raptors need to be on the lookout for one of these three teams, as they possess the right combination of cap space, the desire to quickly improve the roster, and the need for a player like VanVleet at point guard. The Raptors might need to prepare for life after VanVleet.

3 teams who could sign Toronto Raptors PG Fred VanVleet.

3. Orlando Magic

The hype train might be leaving the station very soon, as the Magic appear ready to make themselves known in the Eastern Conference. They have a Rookie of the Year in Paolo Banchero, a perfect secondary star in Franz Wagner, and multiple lottery picks in this upcoming draft.

What is missing, however, is the veteran leader in the backcourt that can tie everything together. VanVleet has been linked to the Magic for quite some time, and it makes sense, given the direction of this team. He could be the missing piece on a younger team.

The Magic could eye Toronto Raptors PG Fred VanVleet.

While Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony have been performing well, does a backcourt consisting primarily of those three really move the needle in the Eastern Conference? VanVleet may not be prime Penny Hardaway, but he can have an instant impact.

A talented young team with no veterans is destined to flail unsupported until someone properly shows them how to win in clutch situations. VanVleet’s locker room impact will appeal to Orlando, and the fact they have great weather and no state tax could swing VanVleet’s mind if the raw salary terms being discussed with Toronto are equal.