The Raptors have secured their No. 1 target in NBA free agency.
Fred VanVleet, the undrafted guard who made himself into an integral part of a championship team, has agreed to four-year, $85 million (all figures U.S.) contract, according to a source familiar with the deal.
It was a quick agreement — NBA’s free agency negotiations only began on Friday night — but one widely expected.
The 26-year-old native of Rockford, Ill. was by far Toronto’s off-season priority and locking him up for four years would set the Raptors up for a seamless transition at point guard from Kyle Lowry, who has a year left on his contract, to VanVleet, who is almost a decade younger.
VanVleet, whose last contract with Toronto paid him less than $10 million a season, averaged a career high 17.6 points per game with the Raptors last season and shot 39 per cent from three-point range.
Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said this week that signing VanVleet was the top priority for the team going into a crucial, shortened off-season.
By agreeing to terms with VanVleet, considered the prime point guard free agent on the market, the Raptors sent a signal they are serious about maintaining the core of the team over the next few years.
They see the six-foot point guard as a prime example of the team’s “culture” and a testament to its ability to develop players through their own system.