Raptors' Masai Ujiri "frustrated" by lack of clarity on VanVleet's future: report

May 10 2023, 8:41 pm

After a season of disarray for the Toronto Raptors, it appears the hits keep coming even long after the team’s played their final game.

According to a report from Heavy.com’s Steve Bulpett, Ujiri has become “really frustrated” with starting point guard Fred VanVleet’s lack of discussion about his future in Toronto.

VanVleet has one season left on a four-year, $80 million contract originally signed back in 2020 with the Raptors.

But with a player option for the final year, VanVleet has the chance to nullify his current contract and take advantage of his unrestricted free agency, with the ability to sign a larger new deal — in Toronto or elsewhere.

“Masai (Ujiri) is really, really frustrated,” according to another NBA general manager, per Bulpett. “He’s frustrated with VanVleet also because he hasn’t shown him any indication that he wants to stay. So I think he’s really down about that situation. Maybe it’s because everything’s still so fresh, but there’s a lot they have to get done there. It didn’t surprise anyone that [head coach Nick Nurse] moved on.”

VanVleet averaged 19.3 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.1 rebounds in 69 games this season, shooting 39.3% from the field and 34.2% from three-point range. He’s spent his entire professional career with the Raptors organization after signing with the team in 2016 out of Wichita State.

On a recent podcast appearance with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, VanVleet sang his praises for his longtime boss.

“I’m very grateful for my situation,” VanVleet replied. “This franchise gave me a chance, you know what I mean? I’m in the NBA because they believed in me, that’s something that I don’t take for granted, don’t take lightly. And also, I just love Masai [Ujiri], I got a great relationship with Bobby, you know what I mean? If I got an issue or something, I’m just gonna text them or call them or when I see ’em, I’m gonna ask ’em like, what’s up, you know what I mean? And vice versa.”

As for what VanVleet’s said about his contract itself, he last spoke about it on April 13 following Toronto’s end to the season.

“[I’ll] take a couple of days, couple of weeks. I don’t think there’s much of a rush to jump into a decision one way or another. I know we’re very dramatic around here. It’s a tough way to go out [last night],” VanVleet told reporters. “Not too much rush to jump into a decision about opting out. It will take some time.”

NBA free agency officially opens this year on July 6, though teams can officially start negotiating on June 30.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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