It wasn't long ago that the Toronto Raptors struggled to attract top-tier talent and hold onto their homegrown stars.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry broke that mold, and now Fred VanVleet is following in their footsteps. VanVleet wants to stay in Toronto for the long haul and is optimistic he'll be able to work out a new deal with the team when the time comes.
"I love being a Raptor, I would love to spend my entire career here," VanVleet told Adam Laskaris of the Daily Hive. "We have a great relationship with the city, the franchise, ownership, management. It's a match made in heaven for me. I love being a Toronto Raptor and hopefully we can continue that on.
"I'm not really too worried about contract discussions, that's just the business aspect of it and I'm confident that we'll figure it out."
VanVleet is under contract for the 2022-23 season, but has a player option worth roughly $23 million for the following campaign. It is likely he will opt out of that final year on his deal and try to negotiate a longer-term pact.
The 28-year-old is coming off his first All-Star season after averaging 20.3 points, 6.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game. He shot 40 percent from the field and a strong 38 percent from three-point range. Head coach Nick Nurse leaned heavily on his point guard with Lowry out of the mix, as VanVleet logged a whopping 38 minutes per night across 65 contests.
VanVleet battled through injury down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs, and was sidelined for Games 5 and 6 of Toronto's first-round loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Illinois native was an integral piece of the Raptors' championship run in 2019, even earning a vote for Finals MVP.
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