The Toronto Raptors officially saw the end of an era brought upon them, as Fred VanVleet decided to leave town and sign with the Houston Rockets for an insane deal that pays him over $42 million per season. For that price, going down to Texas made a ton of sense.
While some fans were happy to see him go due to the fact he would have cost an excessive amount of money, large segments of the fanbase were in a melancholy mood. They had to watch a star they acquired and developed leave for greener pastures.
VanVleet posted his farewell to the city of Toronto and the Raptors’ fanbase, thanking all parties involved for helping him transform from a little-known kid out of Wichita State into one of the greatest undrafted players in NBA history. He received some parting words from the biggest names in Raptors fandom.
Raptors superfan Drake thanked VanVleet for his contributions to the team and the city while taking a dig at his new team by calling them the “Guandong Dragons.” Drake seems to think he’s joining a lackluster team, but VanVleet was not interested in those barbs,
Fred VanVleet trolled Drake while saying goodbye to the Toronto Raptors.
VanVleet’s Instagram farewell was an interesting case study, as it was a genuine send-off to fans who also had a veiled shot at them. VanVleet noted that he went from an unknown to a fan favorite to the “most hated,” all while following that claim with a laughing emoji.
The fans may have soured on VanVleet near the end of his tenure (the matter of how justified their rancor was is left up to interpretation), but VanVleet is inarguably one of the greatest players in franchise history and likely the second-greatest point guard in team history behind Kyle Lowry.
VanVleet and the Raptors may have both needed a fresh start after last season, as Toronto needed to move with their younger core, while the Rockets ended up snatching a veteran leader that can provide some stability for a team that is looking to reinvent their whole image.
While VanVleet might be joining a Rockets team that is further away from contention than some of his other potential suitors, it’s hard to turn down the insane bag that Ime Udoka and Rafael Stone threw at him. His time in Toronto is over, but his legacy is still solid gold.