Raptors: Fred VanVleet’s contract provides flexibility going forward

Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors were able to bring Fred VanVleet back on a reasonable four-year $85 million deal.

Going into this off-season, Fred VanVleet said that he wanted to get paid and the Toronto Raptors were convinced they could bring him back.

Well on Saturday that became a reality as the Raptors took care of business with VanVleet’s new four-year, $85 million contract. When you look at the breakdown of the deal, the Raptors also ensured some flexibility going forward.

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According to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange the deal will pay VanVleet $21.25 million next season, but will then go down almost eight per cent in 2021-22, then it will increase again.  Where this helps the Raptors is making sure the team has some wiggle room with their salary cap following the 2020-21 season.

This was always a challenge for Toronto considering the team expects to make a big push in next year’s free agent class featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo. The team also has to think about OG Anunoby’s new deal and Pascal Siakam’s new contract starting, you have to appreciate VanVleet making things easier.

It has been a great story for VanVleet who went from being an undrafted free agent to an everyday starter last season. The 26-year-old had a career year averaging in 17.6 points, 6.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game.

If VanVleet can continue to show improvement especially in the playoffs, then the Raptors should be able to remain competitive. Also, if Lowry decides to leave next season, Toronto will have VanVleet ready to step in and at a reasonable deal going forward.

You also get the sense of the excitement to have VanVleet with Kyle Lowry giving a special shoutout to his teammate.

Now the pressure shifts over to Serge Ibaka who reportedly has many suitors in free agency so far. With Marc Gasol expected to leave, Ibaka would be in line for a larger role if he decided to return.

He has been an undervalued part of the team with his versatility and stepped up in the playoffs averaging 14.8 points a game on 57.3-per cent shooting. He’s also a versatile defender which allows for Nick Nurse to go with a small lineup at times.

There was a time where many were calling for Ibaka to play over Gasol in the playoffs and hopefully, the Raptors front office sees Ibaka as a vital player to bring back.

Knowing what VanVleet’s contract is should hopefully give Toronto a better idea of what else they can do in free agency.

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What do you think about VanVleet’s deal? What should the team make its next priority? Let us know in the comments below.