With the NBA Draft out of the way, it appears as if the Toronto Raptors are set to take care of other business with reports of some key extensions close to being made.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Toronto Raptors are closing in on a hefty four-year contract extension with one of the team’s top players in guard Fred VanVleet.
The report suggests that VanVleet could be looking to earn north of $110 million on his new deal, which could begin after the 2022/23 season should the 28-year-old Rockford, Illinois native opt out of his player option for the 2023/24 campaign.
Seeing VanVleet re-sign well into his thirties is both pleasant but also highly unsurprising, with the former undrafted gem recently stating his desire to remain with the Raptors organisation for the rest of his career – having enjoyed great success both with the team and as an individual.
The 2021/22 season was expected to be one of rebuilding and transition for the Toronto Raptors, but VanVleet et al had other ideas and put in some exceptional performances – guiding the team to fifth in the Eastern conference with a 48-34 regular season record.
The Raptors were unable to progress beyond the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers in six games, but the team reaching that stage was certainly a welcome sight after the disappointing COVID-impacted 2020/21 season.
VanVleet himself had a career year, averaging 20.3 points per game while throwing .403 from the field, with 6.7 rebounds (4.4 defensive) and 1.7 steals – all culminating in the first All-Star nod of his career.
With Kyle Lowry’s departure last summer, VanVleet has stepped up in a big way and taken on the role left by arguably the greatest player in franchise history, and this reported extension is clear reward for his exceptional performances and consistency for the team.
Alongside VanVleet, it appears that Thaddeus Young is set to remain with the team after being acquired in the trade that saw Goran Dragić sent to the San Antonio Spurs back in February.
Young had a positive spell in Toronto, playing 26 games to end the regular season and provide some depth value for the team – averaging over 18 minutes of play per game.
The 34-year-old power forward averaged 6.2 points per game, while also contributing well defensively with 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals exclusively from the bench.
Young enjoyed his time playing in the 6ix and Fischer’s report suggests he could be looking at earning around $10 million on a two-year deal with the team, giving them much-needed depth and experience moving forward.
Seeing the Raptors move to make these contract extensions ahead of free agency is a positive for the fanbase, who will be pleased to see the team prepare another competitive roster ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
There is still plenty of work to give head coach Nick Nurse the team he truly wants, but getting VanVleet and Young locked up, having already added a position of need through the recent draft, is a positive step forward.