Raptors GM Bobby Webster 'fully expects' Fred VanVleet to re-sign

·NBA reporter
·2-min read

The Toronto Raptors are fully confident about re-signing point guard Fred VanVleet when free agency officially opens later this week.

Raptors general manager Bobby Webster minced no words on the future of VanVleet, who is reportedly drawing interest from a handful of teams after coming off a career-year in his fourth season. VanVleet has publicly stated that he is looking to “cash out” after winning the championship in 2019 and blossoming into a starter this past season, and Toronto is ready to oblige.

“We have said it publicly, privately, every which way. He’s our top priority, he’s our biggest priority for the offseason is bringing him back. We’ve had a great run for four years, we fully expect that to continue, and everything has been positive,” Webster said about VanVleet in a press conference held on Tuesday.

Related: Don’t take Fred VanVleet for granted in free agency

VanVleet is the top free agent guard on the market, and is expected to command a contract worth roughly $20 million per season. Toronto holds full Bird Rights and can exceed the cap to retain VanVleet, who may also draw interest from Detroit, New York, or Atlanta. Given that the other destinations are all in the midst of rebuilding, staying in Toronto is VanVleet’s best chance to continue winning and competing at a high level.

Securing VanVleet would pair him with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby as key components of the team moving forward. All three players are homegrown and roughly the same age, and have shown steady improvement every season. Toronto will still need to surround them with more talent to contend for another title, but it’s a stable and flexible core to build around moving froward.

Webster will still need to make decisions on other free agents, including Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Chris Boucher, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and other depth pieces. Ibaka has been linked to several contenders, including the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, while Gasol has options to stay in the NBA or perhaps return overseas.

VanVleet averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game last season, and he led the Raptors in points, assists, and three-point makes in the playoffs.

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