A key member of the "Bench Mob" is coming back.
Fred VanVleet will sign a new two-year deal worth $18 million to stay with the Raptors, according to multiple reports, keeping the Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Toronto through the 2019-20 season.
Restricted free agent Fred VanVleet has agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal to return to Toronto, league sources tell Yahoo.- Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2018
The Toronto Raptors and Fred VanVleet have agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal, league sources told The Athletic. No options are included in the deal. VanVleet was a finalist for the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award.- Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) July 1, 2018
VanVleet, who averaged 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season, was the primary focus for the Raptors this offseason. Toronto didn't have much room to make a big splash in free agency, but this is a deal that works out well for both sides.
The Raptors keep arguably their most important bench player, one who is definitely worth $9 million per year based on his production and intangibles. Reaching an agreement this quickly also prevents any other suitors from offering the restricted free agent a more expensive deal that Toronto would have needed to match.
And not matching wasn't an option considering how much VanVleet meant when he was on the floor in 2017-18.
|VanVleet On/Off||Off Rtg||Def Rtg||Net Rtg||Asst-TO ratio|
|On (1,520 mins)||112.0||99.9||12.1||1.93|
|Off (2,446 mins)||110.4||105.5||4.9||1.76|
As for VanVleet, he doesn't just get financial security now. Going the two-year route allows him to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020 when the market should be more player-friendly. Remember, VanVleet will only be 26 years old at the end of this deal, just entering the prime of his career.
And that timeline works for the Raptors, too. VanVleet's next dive into free agency matches up with Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka. If Toronto needs to re-evaluate the direction of the franchise in 2020, the front office can decide whether VanVleet is part of its future plans, and VanVleet can see if there are better landing spots available.
Despite coming into the league undrafted and overlooked, VanVleet has quickly established himself as one of the best bench players in the league. He might even cause a few teams to consider him as a starter when this new contract expires.
For now, VanVleet gets his payday, and the Raptors get their man. It's a rare win-win situation in the wild world of free agency.
All signings will not be official until the end of the NBA moratorium period on July 6. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.