10 Toronto Raptors who turned their back on the franchise

Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, Toronto Raptors
Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, Toronto Raptors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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No. 5: Fred VanVleet

Fred VanVleet is the ultimate NBA success story. A college star for mid-major Wichita State, VanVleet went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft; not a single team thought that his combination of playmaking and shooting was worthy of a draft selection. 5 players selected never played a single NBA minute, while another 13 played fewer than 30 games.

VanVleet, on the other hand, has played 471 games and counting, the first 417 of those with the Toronto Raptors franchise who gave him a shot and quickly empowered him with minutes and possessions. His 16.2 VORP ranks third in the draft class behind only longtime teammate Pascal Siakam and Domantas Sabonis. The Raptors found themselves a gem.

The memorable moments will be forever emblazoned in the memories and hearts of the Raptors and their fans. He and his wife welcomed a child into the world during the 2019 playoffs, and he returned and absolutely destroyed the Milwaukee Bucks, shooting 14-for17 (82 percent) from 3-point range over the final three games, all Toronto wins. Or when VanVleet made the All-Star Game, only the fifth undrafted player in NBA history to do so.

When Fred VanVleet reached unrestricted free agency in the summer of 2023, the Raptors made an offer to retain him, perhaps hoping their shared history would convince him to take a slight discount to remain with the franchise and oversee their retooling. Instead, VanVleet took a greater paycheck to oversee the rebuilding Houston Rockets' step forward.

In doing so, he left the franchise that had believed in him enough to give him a chance, and left behind a lot of shared history. That's a hard reality for Toronto fans to stomach.