Fred VanVleet Hopes to Remain in Toronto in a “Perfect World”
A majority of the contract talk over the past few months has seemed to revolve the Toronto Raptors veterans, particularly Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, and Kyle Lowry.
With Lowry extended any extra season and Siakam locked up long-term, it appears that the Raptors seem ready to part ways with Ibaka and Gasol at season’s end, if not earlier. With all this talk, Fred VanVleet has looked lost in the shuffle despite entering a contract year as well. At the conclusion of this season, VanVleet’s two-year, $24-million deal with the Raptors will be up and he is expected to be one of the top free agents on the open market next Summer.
“I’ve been here. This is the team that gave me my chance, I think we understand that. I’m not gonna speak too much on free agency this year just ’cause it’s a business and I have to do what’s best for me and my family,” VanVleet said on Wednesday. “But, I mean, I’ve been on record about how I feel about this place. This organization knows how I feel about this place. So in a perfect world, we know what would happen.”
The general feeling within the industry and around the organization is that both sides will come to terms on an extension when the time is right, but at this point, VanVleet continues to work towards a new NBA deal.
After coming alive in the latter half of last season’s NBA Playoffs, even earning a Finals MVP vote, VanVleet has translated his high level of play into the start of the new season. With plenty of newly added “dad strength” in the system, VanVleet exploded for a career-high 34 points in the Raptors’ season debut and has averaged 19.3 points and 6.3 assists per game in the early going, while hitting exactly 50% of his three point attempts.
If this level of play continues, VanVleet will force the Raptors’ hand and a contract extension will come shortly after.