Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet deserves a payday from Raptors

Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images) /

With Fred VanVleet’s expiring contract, his gritty style of play continues to show the Toronto Raptors why he deserves a payday.

Against the Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 36 points. But even if you take away this achievement, his big deflection in the dying seconds showed his true value as Toronto went on to earn their sixth consecutive win.

Even before the NBA Restart began, it looked as though the point guard was struggling coming out of the scrimmage games. VanVleet had his shots blocked multiple times; he couldn’t create separation and banged his knee against the Portland Trail Blazers.

However, those mishaps quickly turned around for the 26-year old, looking like his old self on the court. VanVleet’s gritty style of play was on full display against the Heat, as executed strong drives and hit seven three-pointers.

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Most Raptor fans may not know this, but VanVleet led the league in deflections per game with 4.2. Monday’s game against the Miami Heat proves he doesn’t just do it when opposing players aren’t paying attention.

VanVleet, who attended Wichita State, went undrafted in 2016. Nevertheless, the Raptors eventually signed him. VanVleet’s undrafted status came from the same draft class where Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, and teammate Pascal Siakam were some of the notable first-round picks.

VanVleet has grown into a reliable backup point guard to Kyle Lowry and has also stepped up as a starter when called upon. His two-year $18-million contract is set to expire following the conclusion of the season and VanVleet has expressed his willingness to say in Toronto.

The Raptors have shown a willingness to keep its current roster together. Toronto already gave Lowry a one-year, $30 million extension which keeps him through the 2020-2021 season, while Siakam inked a four-year $129.9 million max contract.

The NBA’s current max salary cap is $109,140,000, with the luxury tax threshold at $132,627,000. According to, the Raptors’ 2020-2021 active roster cap space is at $86,596,260. There’s a lot of money to spend, and the Raptors should do what they can to keep VanVleet.

It’s no secret he is due to receive a massive payday and should get a three-four year deal around the $50-60 million range. If the Raptors can get him signed to that then there should be money leftover to sign veteran forwards Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka to respectable contracts. Gasol, 35, could sign a two-year, $10 million deal, while Ibaka can sign a one-year deal around $15-$20 million.

It’s no surprise that VanVleet should be a top priority for the Raptors. He will be in a free agent market that features Hassan Whiteside, Paul Millsap, and Brandon Ingram.

With VanVleet’s potential and an NBA title to his name, he would be an interesting commodity for teams seeking a point guard. Raptors fans will hope the team does what it can to keep their core in place for the foreseeable future.

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What do you think the chances are that VanVleet can get re-signed in Toronto? How much will his next contract be? Let us know in the comments below.