While many Toronto Raptors fans were ready to say goodbye to Fred VanVleet after a very uneven end to his tenure, but that same contingent of fans were just as irritated with Masai Ujiri for how the front office handled his final days with the team.
Rather than getting something of value for VanVleet at the trade deadline, the Raptors saw him walk in free agency and join the Houston Rockets. With the lack of depth and shooting on this team, many questioned the decision to let a proven playoff performer and shooter walk for nothing in the open market.
At the same time, there is no way the Raptors were going to pay VanVleet a three-year max contract, as it would have been impossible for Scottie Barnes to evolve into the No. 1 option many expect him to be. VanVleet is a smart guy, and he is well aware of what the Raptors are trying to do.
VanVleet went on Adrian Wojnarowski's titular podcast to explain his thought process behind joining the Rockets. VanVleet said that he knew his value "wasn't probably as great" in Toronto as it would be in Houston, as the plan to build around Barnes likely didn't include the undrafted legend in their plans.
More Raptors news
- The Miami Heat will be without a very important player ahead of their matchup against Toronto, as Bam Adebayo will not make the trip to Toronto and will be ruled inactive. The Raptors will still need to contend with a motivated combination of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro.
- The Raptors may have some impressive upset wins, but they have yet to win three games in a row. Coach Darko Rajakovic says he will pay for dinner for the entire team when they get their first three-game winning streak this season, but Siakam said that the money will be coming out of his pocket.
- The Indiana Pacers picked up an upset win against the Boston Celtics to advance to the In-Season Tournament Semifinals, while the New Orleans Pelicans managed to shut down the Sacramento Kings. The Pacers will play the winner of Bucks-Knicks, and the Pelicans will face the winner of Lakers-Suns.
- The Celtics and the surprising Minnesota Timberwolves are ranked in the top two of NBA.com's latest power rankings, with the reigning champion Denver Nuggets right behind them at No. 3. That trio is followed up by the hot Thunder and always deadly 76ers in the top five.