With free agency approaching, Fred VanVleet doesn’t appear to be willing to give the Toronto Raptors a discount and it’s tough to blame him.
The Raptors guard was a guest on the Old Man and the Three podcast to discuss his big decision in free agency. When it comes to the main priority for him, VanVleet didn’t shy away from his goals.
"“I’m trying to get paid, man,” VanVleet told JJ Redick and Tommy Alter. “I’m not shy about that. I don’t have to tell people that I value winning. Just look at my story, do your research. I’ve never been on a losing team in my entire life. That’s what I’m about. And that’s just what it is. I won a championship and now it’s time to cash out.”"
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VanVleet’s journey has been an inspirational one as he went from an undrafted free agent to a pivotal contributor for the Raptors. He was able to secure a two-year, $18-million deal in 2018 which gave Toronto flexibility and a nice raise for VanVleet.
This is why the next contract for the 26-year-old is going to be a crucial one not only with the dollar amount but where he goes. He certainly understands that he has a strong bargaining position as one of the top free agents on the market but also needs to find the right situation.
He hasn’t been featured as a starting point guard enough to really establish his value and it doesn’t help that he’s been stuck behind Kyle Lowry for all these years. At the same time, playing for the Raptors has put him in a strong position because he’s been able to showcase himself.
Toronto has to think about what their future looks like since Lowry will be coming to the end of the line and other than VanVleet, there isn’t a player prime to take over. Keeping VanVleet would be the ideal solution but the team also has an eye on the 2021 free agent class.
So while you can appreciate VanVleet’s desire to think of himself in order to do what’s best for him, the Raptors need to take the same approach. Considering all the uncertainty that the team still has to deal with in Masai Ujiri’s future, it’s not going to be an easy situation.
All that Raptors fans can hope for is that the number they offer VanVleet satisfies what he wants. The good thing for Toronto is that they know what they’re getting out of VanVleet so they probably know what their number is and hopefully, they can stick to it.
If not, then you have to consider other options that will fit the team’s plans even if it isn’t the option the team originally hoped for.
What do you think about the VanVleet situation? Should the team be looking at other options in case they lose VanVleet? Let us know in the comments below.