The Toronto Raptors know that they need to come out swinging in free agency, as they have many key players currently in positions to bolt Canada for greener pastures elsewhere. Fred VanVleet, the team’s starting point guard and vocal leader, is among those players.
VanVleet has become one of the more radioactive names in basketball, as his defenders and enemies are as diametrically opposed as possible. Still, VanVleet is going to get one last payday, and the Orlando Magic might be the team willing to meet his admittedly high price.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon hinted at the idea that VanVleet is going to get a ton of money thrown at him by Orlando in the offseason. With Bleacher Report furthering MacMahon’s narrative and hyping up the potential fit, VanVleet’s departure could be coming very soon.
The Raptors have been very open in their praise of VanVleet, but the firing of Nick Nurse might change the calculus with regard to how valuable Toronto views him. If they can’t come to an agreement, there is a dark blue and black jersey in central Florida with his name on it.
Toronto Raptors PG Fred VanVleet linked to Magic.
VanVleet might bring his inefficiency and ball-stopping tendencies with him to the Magic, but he is also going to give the roster an injection of shooting, playmaking, and leadership that a young team needs. That’s worth paying a premium for if you have the cap space the Magic have.
The three-headed monster of Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, and Markelle Fultz is fine, if uninspiring. VanVleet arriving on a Magic team that already has Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner in the frontcourt and two lottery picks this year could give them the edge they need.
If the Raptors don’t add a point guard in the draft (potentially Scoot Henderson if they trade up), they might not have a choice but to match Orlando’s offer for VanVleet. In a thin free agency class at point guard, VanVleet is one of the best names on the market.
Joining a team that is on the rise in a state where it is 80 degrees all the time and no state tax means more money in his pocket, VanVleet could capitalize on the opportunity if Orlando comes calling. The Raptors might need to make a very aggressive push if they want to keep the Fred VanVleet era alive in Toronto.