St. Patrick's Day Collection | T-Shirts, Hoodies, Crewnecks, Hats, FlagsSHOP NOW

NBA Free Agency Watch: The Raptors Keep Fred VanVleet

Cleveland Cavaliers v Toronto Raptors - Game Two

And we’re officially off and running today! I hope you managed to get a few hours of sleep after the chaos from last night, and here we are early this morning with our first bit of official news of the day. If you’re a Raptors fan, you’re probably a little relieved that not only were they able to keep one of the better reserve guards in the league, but they didn’t have to overextend themselves to do it. A 2/$18M deal is great for all parties involved, for VanVleet it’s a giant raise form his $1.3M that he played under this past season, and it also gives him the ability to re-enter the market when he’ll be 26 and still in his prime. He was clearly comfortable in his role on the Raptors, and was a main reason why TOR had one of if not the best bench units in the entire NBA. In his 20 minutes a night he put in 8.6/2.4/3.2 on 42/41% splits making 1.4 3PM a night. You can certainly do worse in terms of your backup point guard that’s for sure.

What’s interesting is that VanVleet was a RFA, and we haven’t heard what teams were offering him this sort of money, but it does say a lot about the market this summer for guards. From what I read it doesn’t sound like there was an offer, just that the Raptors and VanVleet were able to come to this agreement. Outside of CP3, no guard has really been given crazy money, and once PHX made the trade for Ariza that sort of took them out of the running as a potential landing spot. That’s the good news for TOR. The bad news is with this signing their payroll is about to be around $134M to just 12 players, putting them about $11M over the tax with two more roster spots to fill. That means that at some point this summer TOR is going to have to shed some salary.

This is one of those moves that really only a handful of fanbases probably care about, but VanVleet is a solid player and one of the best guard options available this summer, so it’ll be interesting to see what that means for some other guys, mostly Marcus Smart in my opinion. This news makes you wonder if the Raptors would now be more willing to entertain the idea of hearing calls about Kyle Lowry, knowing they have a more than suitable replacement if the right offer comes along.

I can’t imagine this is the only news we’ll get today, so I hope you cleared your schedule.