Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet bets on himself with short-term deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Fred VanVleet
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19: Fred VanVleet /

The Toronto Raptors have rewarded Fred VanVleet for his breakout season with an extension as he hopes to land a bigger deal going forward.

One of the biggest questions the Toronto Raptors faced this offseason was whether or not they would be able to bring Fred VanVleet back.

It appears that the team was able to find a compromise with the restricted free agent as it was reported that VanVleet will return on a two-year $18 million deal.

This would have been a different situation had the Raptors not own the bird rights for the 24-year-old but it was clear that the team wanted to have him back.

Doug Smith wrote in the Toronto Star about the various things that VanVleet does that makes him a valuable member of the Raptors as president Masai Ujiri explained.

“I don’t know what the rules are with that,” Ujiri told Smith. “I don’t want to get into trouble, but I love Freddie. I hope I don’t get fined for saying that, but I love Freddie. He’s our player and I love him. Whatever it is, Freddie knows we love him.”

As Smith explains, this short-term deal is one that not only benefits the team but also VanVleet because he can play into a bigger pay raise down the road which would explain this tweet.

VanVleet only made $1.3 million during the 2017-18 season so he deserves the pay increase and getting the deal out of the way keeps out the possibility of an offer sheet.

Another point that Smith brings up is that the Raptors will have their big four contracts of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas coming off the books. It also means that someone could be on the way out as the team is in the luxury-tax which is not ideal.

In past seasons, the Raptors would ship out an underperforming player along with a draft pick to get that contract off the books. The issue that arises from that is the fact that the team didn’t have a pick in this year’s draft which is not an ideal situation.

Ibaka’s contract would be the top choice to move but there aren’t many teams that would want to take on that deal. Valanciunas has been a player that could be of interest since he did have more success last season.

DeRozan and Lowry are more complicated deals since the Raptors would want something substantial in return. At this point, the team could just hold off on making a deal since Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment has deep pockets.

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At the same time, if there is a deal that can make the team better and provide some financial flexibility don’t be surprised if Ujiri decides to do it.