Home Trending News Raptors re-sign Fred VanVleet to four-year, $85-million deal

Raptors re-sign Fred VanVleet to four-year, $85-million deal


Raptors re-sign Fred VanVleet to four-year, $85-million deal | The Star

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, Daily Echoed

The Raptors have secured their No. 1 target in NBA free agency.

Fred VanVleet, the undrafted guard who made himself into an integral part of a championship team, has agreed to four-year, $85-million (U.S.) contract, according to a source familiar with the deal.

It was a quick agreement — NBA’s free agency negotiations only began on Friday night — but one widely expected.

The 26-year-old native of Rockford, Ill. was by far Toronto’s off-season priority and locking him up for four years would set the Raptors up for a seamless transition at point guard from Kyle Lowry, who has one year left on his contract, to VanVleet, who is almost a decade younger.

VanVleet, whose last contract with Toronto paid him less than $10 million a season, averaged a career high 17.6 points per game with the Raptors last season and shot 39 per cent from three-point range.

Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said this week that signing VanVleet was the top priority for the team going into a crucial, shortened off-season.

By agreeing to terms with VanVleet, considered the prime free-agent point guard on the market, the Raptors sent a signal they are serious about maintaining the core of the team over the next few years. They see the six-foot point guard as a prime example of the team’s “culture” and a testament to its ability to develop players.

VanVleet was undrafted coming out of college at Wichita State and thrived under the tutelage of then head coach Dwane Casey and with the team’s patience in letting players grow into their potential. VanVleet spent time in his rookie season with the G League Raptors 905 before becoming a regular with the NBA team.

He was a backup for a couple of seasons — notably the championship year of 2019 when he ended up receiving a vote as the NBA Finals’ most valuable player — and became a starter under coach Nick Nurse last season. He and Lowry, both relatively undersized, made up one of the most potent backcourts in the NBA, known for grit and defensive toughness and the willingness to take all the big shots when they were needed.

VanVleet started all 54 games last season as the Raptors posted the best regular-season record by percentage in franchise history.

With him in the fold for the foreseeable future — VanVleet has a player option on the fourth year of the contract — the team now has a solid and established base to build on. VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby, who is eligible for a contract extension this fall, are seen as the future cornerstones.

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Webster and president Masai Ujiri must go about building out the frontcourt, with Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol also on the free-agent market.

Ibaka will be their next target; he is 30 years old and coming off his best season in the NBA but will certainly attract attention from other teams.

Gasol, 34, is reportedly considering retiring from the NBA and finishing his career in Spain but he could come back on a short-term deal.

Either way, the Raptors still have work to do. They will have the so-called “mid-level” salary-cap exception of about $9.2 million to offer free agents to fill out the team.

, Daily Echoed

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