Landing sites and contract projection
With him expected to step out in the final year of his contract with the Toronto Raptors, Fred VanVleet’s 2023 Free Agency is — almost — officially underway. The Raptors’ tweener guard was one of the best point guards of the last season and he definitely deserves every penny he’s going to make.
VanVleet signed a four-year contract extension with the Raptors worth over $80 million in 2020. The contract guidance for VanVleet could now see him dwarf the annual plateau of $25 million considering he has never stopped improving.
Fred VanVleet free agency 2023
But where could he land? Which team could be a better match for his talents and, more importantly, who would be willing to pay him as much as he wants to be paid? Let’s take a deep look at the market and answer all of these questions and a few more.
5. Phoenix Suns
Whatever happens this summer, it’s obvious the Phoenix Suns will need to steer clear of Chris Paul in the offseason. Paul is a first-round prospective Hall of Famer and one of the greatest point guards in the history of this beautiful game, but he’s proven unreliable in the postseason, largely because he’s rarely healthy at this point of the year.
It’s unfortunate, but the Suns’ title window could close right before their eyes, and that will have to do in large part with not having a solid backup point guard, or even one who could remain healthy. VanVleet has a championship pedigree and could also play with the ball in small ball lineups, with Devin Booker slipping to the three.
The Suns have lacked depth since Kevin Durant’s move, so dropping big bucks for another player might not be the wisest decision for this team right now. But with a new owner in town, there might be more than enough money left over.
VanVleet’s status as a free agent doesn’t mean he wants to stop with the Toronto Raptors. We saw that again and again in the league; It’s just a business. He’s already established himself as a fan favorite and why should he put on all the burden of moving house?
Fred VanVleet is one of the team’s leaders and veterans. Masai Ujiri hinted at the possibility of signing another big deal when his time comes and he would be wise to at least try to keep his word by keeping it with him while he still can.
Nick Nurse will no longer be in charge of the Raptors. And while the reports pointed to no one, there were rumors of a potential rift between him and some players. Perhaps his departure was precisely why Fred had to think twice and decide to stay.
3.Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers always want to get better. The bright lights of Hollywood, the lifestyle of Southern California, and the chance to play with LeBron James and don the purple and gold jersey are always attractive in and of themselves.
Rob Pelinka has been working his magic since taking over as GM, so you better believe he might find a way to make the numbers work. VanVleet would be a huge improvement over D’Angelo Russell, and he could also outplay the ball while LeBron is in charge of offense if that’s the case.
The Los Angeles Lakers are always looking for quality players, and LeBron somehow always manages to get people to take a pay cut. He’s no Kyrie Irving, but he’s definitely more trustworthy, reliable, and even a better defender.
2.Los Angeles Clippers
Likewise, the Los Angeles Clippers could offer some of the perks that come with a move to Southern California. They may not have the Lakers’ championship tradition, but they’ll be opening a new arena soon and need a few stars to draw people in.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George do not appear to be staying healthy, so the team will have to leave no stone unturned in their bid to find more clout. Russell Westbrook has been solid in the few months he’s been there and rumor has it they want to bring him back, but he’s by no means the best fit for Tyronn Lue’s system.
Having VanVleet on the pitch would give them another boost, both for himself and for others. He could help them increase ground with his three-point shooting and he’s a much better attack point defender than Westbrook.
In one of the most bizarre events of the season, the Miami Heat couldn’t secure a deal for another All-Star because Pat Riley was napping and couldn’t agree to the deal. He won’t do that again, and you can bet your house on that.
The Heat have been looking for another star for some time and need to improve at the point guard position. Kyle Lowry isn’t getting any younger. So why not replace him with someone who has already done so in the past?
Jimmy Butler is a fearless competitor and he will make the best of the hand he is given. So imagine what he could accomplish with a better supporting cast around him, and that’s more than enough reason for the Heat to dupe Fred VanVleet.