VanVleet and Miami Heat point guard Goran Dragic are the two best floor generals entering unrestricted free agency this offseason. Dragic is widely expected to re-sign with the Heat, while the expectation is that VanVleet will sign a new long-term deal with the Raptors.
In 2019-20, VanVleet averaged 17.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game during the regular season while shooting 41.3 percent from the field, 39.0 percent from beyond the arc and 84.8 percent from the free-throw line. The Raptors racked up the second-best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season, but lost to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2020 playoffs at Walt Disney World in seven hard-fought games.
With the 2020 transaction period coming up soon, here are three ideal landing spots for Fred VanVleet.
Let’s be honest here: Fred VanVleet would be foolish to leave the Raptors. Kyle Lowry is getting older and only has one year left on his contract. Soon enough, Toronto’s offense is going to be all about VanVleet and All-Star small forward Pascal Siakam.
The Raptors were the only team to believe in VanVleet when he went undrafted after a stellar run in college at Wichita State. Toronto’s development gurus carefully worked with VanVleet throughout the years and now the 26-year-old is undoubtedly one of the best up-and-coming point guards in the NBA.
The grass isn’t always greener. While some team out there might throw VanVleet a big-money offer and promise him 25 shots a game, the 6-foot-1 playmaker isn’t going to find a better winning situation than the Raptors, who have one of the best front office groups in the NBA, led by president Masai Ujiri.
If for some reason Fred VanVleet is looking to leave the Raptors, the Knicks are expected to be at his front door once free agency starts.
New York has been a walking disaster since the 2012-13 season. That’s the last campaign a Knicks team had a winning record and made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
The Knicks desperately need a starting point guard and VanVleet fits that bill. New Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has a history of working very well with point guards, too.
In 2011, Thibs helped Derrick Rose become the youngest MVP in NBA history with the Chicago Bulls. After Rose started to suffer some injuries with the Bulls, guys like Nate Robinson and D.J. Augustin filled in for Rose and had some of their best statistical seasons with Thibodeau as their head coach.
The Knicks will probably offer VanVleet a huge deal in free agency. In this uncertain economy due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, VanVleet’s agent may instruct the guard to take the most money and the Knicks have plenty of capital at their disposal.
The Bulls have been looking for a point guard ever since they traded Rose to the Knicks in the summer of 2016. Under new VP Arturas Karnisovas, Chicago is searching for its proper floor general so shooting guard Zach LaVine doesn’t have to initiate the team’s offense every play.
If Fred VanVleet is looking to play in a big market city and close to home, then the Bulls make sense for him. Chicago could have a starting lineup of FVV, LaVine, Otto Porter, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., giving new head coach Billy Donovan a solid starting five to work with.
The Bulls have Kris Dunn and Coby White on the roster, but Dunn becomes a restricted free agent this offseason and White is more of a shooting guard than a point guard.
If Chicago loses Dunn, it opens up a roster spot for VanVleet.
Since entering the NBA,VanVleet has compiled averages of 10.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists with the Raptors. He’s increased his points per game average every single season, as well as his IQ of the game, playmaking skills and ability to hit clutch shots.
It’s going to be interesting to see what VanVleet decides to do this offseason. The prevailing thought around league circles is that he’s going to re-sign with the Raptors since head coach Nick Nurse and Ujiri have consistently said they plan to take care of FVV as soon as the free agency period starts.
The Bulls, Knicks and Detroit Pistons have been linked to VanVleet, so the Raptors better stick to their word and pay him since other teams will be lurking once free agency opens.