AP Photo/Doug McSchooler
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet turned down a four-year, $114 million extension before the season, first per Josh Lewenberg of TSN and confirmed by Michael Grange of Sportsnet.
“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. He’s eligible to sign an extension up to that value until the end of the campaign, but considering he can make more in free agency and he literally wears the mantra ‘Bet on Yourself’ across his chest, it’s not a surprise that he would prefer to let his current deal expire before negotiating a new one.”
Michael Grange @michaelgrange
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. <a href=”https://twitter.com/JLew1050?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@JLew1050</a> first.
The 28-year-old VanVleet has played all seven of his NBA seasons with the Raptors. He joined the Raptors’ summer league team in 2016 after going undrafted out of Wichita State and served an integral part of the team’s 2019 NBA Finals’ championship run.
He’s been a full-time starter for three-plus seasons in Toronto, which has made the playoffs two out of the past three campaigns. VanVleet is struggling from the field this year (37.7 percent shooting, 32.5 percent from three-point range) but is still averaging 18.8 points, 6.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.
However, the bottom has fallen out on the Raptors this season, with the team sitting outside the play-in tournament picture at just 16-23. Toronto is 3-11 in its last 14 games.
It’s unclear how the Raptors will approach the trade deadline and offseason given the team’s current state, although there’s time for the team to turn the season around, especially given its collection of talent in the starting lineup led by Pascal Siakam.
VanVleet can become a free agent next offseason if he declines his 2022-23 player option for $22,824,074. If he does that, then Lewenberg said Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro’s four-year, $130 million deal “is expected to be the baseline.”
Lewenberg also noted that the Raptors should make the decision on whether they want to stick with VanVleet long-term in the five weeks before the NBA’s Feb. 9 trade deadline or risk “losing him for nothing” in free agency.
For now, the Raptors are trying to break free from their losing skid. They’ll try to do so at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday afternoon.