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Report: Raptors re-signing Fred VanVleet (four years, $85M)

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 19: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors handles the ball during the game against George Hill #3 of the Milwaukee Bucks during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 19, 2019 at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Raptors love Fred VanVleet.

How much?

Enough to complicate their Giannis Antetokounmpo pursuit.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

If VanVleet’s contract contains the largest possible dip for next offseason (when Antetokounmpo could be an unrestricted free agent), the structure would be:

  • 2020-21: $21.25 million
  • 2021-22: $19.55 million
  • 2022-23: $21.25 million
  • 2023-24: $22.95 million

With that structure, Toronto would project to have about $27 million (minus a 2021 first-round pick’s salary) in cap space next offseason.

Antetokounmpo’s max starting salary projects to be about $34 million.

But the Raptors could open sufficient room by unloading Norman Powell, who has a $11,615,328 player option for 2021-22. That’s a reasonable burden when the upside is keeping VanVleet.

VanVleet signed with Toronto as an undrafted free agent, worked his way into being a quality backup then developed into a good starter. He has advanced thanks to his endearing confidence and toughness – plus an underrated skill set. Overlooked at just 6-foot-1, VanVleet is a good outside shooter and gritty defender.

Though he has been starting with Kyle Lowry in a dual-point guard backcourt, VanVleet (26) could become more of a lead guard as Lowry (34) ages or maybe leaves in 2021 free agency.

Perhaps not coincidentally, these are the same terms (four years, $85 million) Malcolm Brogdon got from the Pacers last year. He acquitted himself well in a larger role. I’d expect VanVleet to do the same.

VanVleet has earned the benefit of the doubt – and this big contract.