The Toronto Raptors re-signed guard Fred VanVleet in what was the team’s biggest question mark heading into the NBA offseason. On Saturday, Nov. 21, VanVleet and the Raptors agreed to a four-year, $85 million deal according to ESPN. The report also stated VanVleet has a player option in the final year of his contract.
Toronto can continue with its shortened offseason knowing it has one of its top players locked up under contract for the foreseeable future. VanVleet is heading into his fifth season, all with the Raptors. He came off the bench in his first two seasons and saw his first start in the 2018-19 season as part of a championship team before entering the starting lineup full time last year.
VanVleet helped the 2019-20 Raptors to a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference last season with a 53-19 overall record before exiting in the conference semifinals in seven games against the Boston Celtics. In that season, VanVleet finished second on the team in scoring with 17.6 points per game and shot 41.3% from the floor including 39% from the three-point line. He knocked down 84.8% of his free throws and averaged 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. He was tied for third in the league in steals last season.
VanVleet has been a fun story for the Raptors as an undrafted free agent coming out of Wichita State. This would be the largest contract for an undrafted free agent in NBA history. He will be paired with Kyle Lowry and Pascal Saikam to lead the Raptors this season.
What’s next for Toronto?
With the 2020-21 NBA regular season just a month away, Toronto still has a few more decisions to make as it looks to improve on last year’s results. The regular season was a major success, but an early exit in the playoffs as a top-two seed was a bit of a disappointing finish for the Raptors and their fans.
One thing that will certainly be different this season is where the Raptors will be playing their regular season games. The NBA is not going with a bubble system like it did during the postseason and will have teams playing in their own stadiums as it battles through the coronavirus pandemic, but Toronto is in a unique situation. Because of Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, it was unrealistic for the Raptors to play their games in the country. Instead, they will be playing their home games at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida where the Raptors will be training when camp starts on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
On the court, Toronto continues to makes moves. After the Raptors lost big men Marc Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers and Serge Ibaka to the Los Angeles Clippers, they agreed to a two-year, $14.3 million contract with Aron Baynes, according to The Athletic. In addition, the organization and Chris Boucher agreed to keep him around with a two-year, $13.5 million deal.
In last week’s NBA Draft, the Raptors selected Malachi Flynn out of San Diego State with the No. 29 overall pick and added Jalen Harris from Nevada in the 59th pick of the draft.
It remains to be seen how active Toronto will be in the next month as we get closer and closer to the regular season starting on Dec. 22, which is right around the corner.
NBA futures odds updated
After all the moves this NBA offseason, Toronto’s odds have decreased slightly since the futures odds came out shortly after the Lakers closed out the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals to close out a strange 2019-20 season.
The Raptors opened up at +650 to win the Eastern Conference and are now at +800 odds. They held the fifth best odds then, and that’s where they are now. The futures odds originally gave Toronto the eighth best odds at +1600 odds to win the NBA title. Since then, Toronto stands at +2000 to win another championship, but it now has the seventh best chance to win it all, moving ahead of the Golden State Warriors after a devastating, season-ending injury to their star Klay Thompson.
Below is an updated look at the NBA futures odds for the Eastern Conference as well as which team will win the next NBA Finals. All odds are via a popular United States sportsbook.
Eastern Conference winner
- Milwaukee Bucks +225
- Brooklyn Nets +275
- Boston Celtics +550
- Miami Heat +650
- Toronto Raptors +800
- Philadelphia 76ers +1000
- Indiana Pacers +4000
- Atlanta Hawks +5000
- Orlando Magic & Washington Wizards +6000
- Chicago Bulls +7000
- Charlotte Hornets/Cleveland Cavaliers/Detroit Pistons/New York Knicks +30000
NBA Finals winner
- Los Angeles Lakers +300
- Los Angeles Clippers & Milwaukee Bucks +550
- Brooklyn Nets +600
- Boston Celtics +1300
- Miami Heat +1500
- Toronto Raptors +2000
- Dallas Mavericks & Denver Nuggets +2200
- Philadelphia 76ers +2500
- Golden State Warriors & Houston Rockets +3000
- Phoenix Suns & Utah Jazz +4000
- Portland Trail Blazers +5000
- New Orleans Celtics +8000
- Indiana Pacers +10000
- Atlanta Hawks & Memphis Grizzlies +15000
- Chicago Bulls/Minnesota Timberwolves/Oklahoma City Thunder/Orlando Magic/San Antonio Spurs/Washington Wizards +20000
- Sacramento Kings +25000
- New York Knicks +40000
- Charlotte Hornets/Cleveland Cavaliers/Detroit Pistons +50000