Title: How much can the Raptors pay Fred VanVleet (and still have max money in 2021)?
Date: September 16, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I broke down how the Raptors can retain Fred VanVleet and still maintain max cap space for 2021.
All the college kids and misfits, quality of business, bet on yourself, takes risks.” – Obie Trice
It’s just senseless. That’s the next lyric, and also my evaluation of Obie stringing out “risks” as risk-es to rhyme with business.
Also at least a little senseless: spending a fun season worrying about the next season. That’s life in a salary capped league, where as far back as November I had to try to break down how Pascal Siakam’s max contract extension and Fred VanVleet’s play could affect the Toronto Raptors’ chances of landing a star free agent in 2021.
With a very nice fourth season in the books, VanVleet heads to unrestricted free agency in a somewhat difficult negotiating environment. On VanVleet’s side, he has bet on himself multiple times now to get here. He is deserving of every cent anyone will pay him, and though competitive interests and how market and team success influence things like a player’s brand or status for his next deal, VanVleet’s structured his career to this point to maximize his earning potential here. On the Raptors’ side, VanVleet is a key piece of their team, their defensive system, their leadership dynamic and their culture. They love him. But they also value flexibility, and every dollar given to VanVleet is a dollar they’ll have to pinch elsewhere if a max-level player decides to join the program next offseason.