"My whole NBA life is here": Raptors' VanVleet mulls big offseason decision

Apr 13 2023, 10:28 pm

The Toronto Raptors — and Fred VanVleet himself— aren’t speeding to a contract decision about their starting point guard.

Following Toronto’s 109-105 defeat to the Chicago Bulls in last night’s play-in game that ended their season, VanVleet has one season left on a four-year, $80 million contract originally signed back in 2020.

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.

“[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 today at his end-of-season media availability. “Not too much rush to jump into a decision about opting out. It will take some time.”

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.

Signing with the Raptors out of Wichita State as an undrafted free agent back in 2016, VanVleet had positive things to say about the only NBA organization he’s played for to date.

“I think the relationship’s in a good place… we built something special here. I think just my whole NBA life is here,” VanVleet added. “That holds some value in some way. I think the relationship with management and coaching and whatever it is, it’s all in a great place. And that hasn’t changed.”

But coming off a 48-win season in 2021-22, Toronto went just 41-41 this season, missing the playoffs for the second time in three years, which VanVleet admitted was tough to go through.

“I don’t want to necessarily go through another season like this. I think that we can certainly be better than we were,” VanVleet added.

Along with VanVleet’s future, Raptors fans are in anticipation about the future of head coach Nick Nurse, who just concluded his fifth season with the team. VanVleet said he “loves” playing for Nurse, and would be surprised if he wasn’t sticking around in Toronto for the final season of his contract next year.

“Whatever happens, happens. I’ll figure it out. You know, we’re all grown-ups in this league and understand everything’s a business, but coach has got my full support,” VanVleet added.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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