VanVleet Speaks with Toronto Media for the First Time since Re-Signing
“I thought I’d be back.”
For Fred VanVleet, he knew his NBA future remained in Toronto.
It seems like it was just yesterday, but over four years ago, the Toronto Raptors took a bet on an undrafted senior out of a mid-major school. That senior – an undersized point guard – quickly developed his game in the G League for the 905 and eventually turned into an integral part of a championship team.
This past year, VanVleet put together his best career season on the heels of entering free agency.
“In the last four years, we’ve seen Fred move from leader of Raptors 905, to leader of the Bench Mob to a leader of a championship team. The constant has been his leadership, no matter his role,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “We look forward to the coming years with Fred as one of the voices and hearts of our team. We bet on Fred.”
VanVleet, who averaged 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game, signed a four-year contract with the franchise worth $85-million – the largest contract ever given to an undrafted player in the history of the NBA. The final year of the deal is reportedly a player option.
“It’s funny to see things come full-circle but that’s what makes this journey that much more special, because of how I had to do it and how fast it turned around for me,” VanVleet said today while addressing the Toronto media. “It was almost like so straightforward that it made me question it a little bit, like it can’t be this easy, you know what I mean?”
Now a champion and a very rich man, VanVleet’s competitive fire continues to burn.
“It’s really just the beginning of the next chapter,” said the 26-year old guard. “Now, I feel like I’m on a level playing field and I’ve made it, and I’ve got both feet inside the door, and I’m in the room and now it’s time to really take off and go to another level.”
With their sights set on maintaining cap flexibility for the 2021 offseason, the Toronto Raptors have a nice young core in place with VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and an OG Anunoby extension is surely soon to come within the next calendar year!
The Raptors bet on VanVleet and the bet paid off!