Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet is disputing recent news reported about a possible contract extension made in his direction this summer.
A pair of reports — one by TSN’s Josh Lewenberg and another by Sportsnet’s Michael Grange — discussed the possibility of a four-year contract extension for VanVleet to be signed this past summer with the Raptors.
“Prior to the start of the season, VanVleet turned down a contract extension valued at roughly $114 million, the maximum Toronto could offer at the time, according to a source,” Lewenberg wrote in an article on Saturday.
Grange confirmed Lewenberg’s report in a tweet, but added that there was “a mutual decision to wait, with no deadline discussed,” per a source.
Can confirm that Fred VanVleet was offered a 4yr extension for $114m prior to the season. Offer wasn’t ‘rejected’, but was a ‘mutual decision to wait, with no deadline discussed’ per a source. @JLew1050 first.
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) January 8, 2023
But while VanVleet added there was a mutual nature to not sign a deal, he disputed portions of the reports during a statement made at the end of his postgame press conference on Sunday after Toronto’s 117-105 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
— Lindsay Dunn (@LindsayDunnTV) January 8, 2023
“I was never made a formal offer,” VanVleet told the media. “It was a mutual decision made by both sides that the smart thing to do would be to wait it out.”
VanVleet added that the leak didn’t come from his camp.
“I will never speak on my free agency or contract negotiations especially between conversations between me and management. So it certainly didn’t come from me,” VanVleet said.
Lewenberg’s report came in a larger article titled “Raptors failing VanVleet, not the other way around”, discussing the up-and-down season for the veteran guard.
“I understand we’re in the era of taking two sentences out of an article and making it a tweet and then all of a sudden, I get 300 messages last night that I turned out 114 million,” VanVleet. “Which is not the case. So it’s a little misleading. And, you know, I’m disappointed that it’s come out. I don’t want it to be a distraction.”
VanVleet is in the third year of a four-year, $80 million contract with a player option for next summer. While $114 million is the maximum amount he’d be able to sign throughout the duration of this season, he’d be eligible for a larger contract — in Toronto or elsewhere — should he opt out of his player option for next year.
“There was no rush given that I could still sign the extension all the way through the end of the season. I also have a player option in my contract this summer. We can deal with that at the end of the season. And I’m also on the books for next year so take my word for it,” VanVleet said.
VanVleet has spent his entire career with Toronto after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
“I love being a Raptor,” VanVleet said in an exclusive interview with Daily Hive in the offseason. “I would love to spend my entire career here. We have a great relationship with the city, the franchise, ownership, management… it’s a match made in heaven for me. I love being a Toronto Raptor.”