"I love Masai": VanVleet grateful for relationship with Raptors' front office

Apr 4 2023, 8:50 pm

Count Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet as a fan of Toronto’s front office.

On a recent podcast appearance with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, the 29-year-old Raptors’ guard was asked about his situation in Toronto ahead of this summer’s free agency period.

Up for a likely contract opt-out this season as he’s heading into the final year of a four-year, $85 million contract with a player option originally signed in 2020, VanVleet had plenty of praise for Raptors president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster.

“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?”

VanVleet was eligible to earn up to $114 million on a contract extension had he signed at any point throughout this season, but his patience has set him up for a possible bigger payday come this summer, in Toronto or elsewhere.

An undrafted free agent out of Wichita State who has played his entire professional career in the Raptors organization, VanVleet has averaged 19.7 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.2 rebounds in 66 games this season while shooting 34.5% from three-point range in 37 minutes per game of action.

“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,” VanVleet added about the Raptors’ front office.

And VanVleet stressed the importance of honesty when dealing with his bosses, the media, and the general population.

“I don’t really play too much… I’m more of a direct person. So yeah, that’s what allowed me to just stay sane. But like, definitely a couple of weeks where I gotta stay off Twitter,” VanVleet laughed. “I definitely have an off and on again thing with Twitter where I’ve got to balance that as best I can.”

The full interview is available below.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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