Raptors’ Fred VanVleet worried coronavirus suspension will affect salaries in free agency
Like many NBA players, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is worried about the ramifications of this sudden halt in sports. Players, executives, and owners have had to make concessions to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, but there’s another hit to come for those free agents looking to cash in on huge deals in 2020.
VanVleet is one of them, as the 26-year-old Raptors guard latched on to a minimum contract of two years after going undrafted before signing another two-year deal worth $18 million, which expires this summer:
“It sucks because guys work their whole lives for this moment,” said the Raptors guard, according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic. “You think about not just myself, you think about a guy like (Pistons forward) Christian Wood, who ended up having a hell of a year toward the second half of the season and he’s a free agent this summer. So what does that mean for somebody like him? But I think that the league and the union will try to do a good job to make sure that the free agents this summer get a fair shake, and it’s fair negotiating.
“Obviously, we’ll probably all take a hit at some point, and hopefully the hit is just kind of minimized to just this year, and so there (are) ways to work around that stuff. But at the end of the day, I think people’s health and wellbeing and frame of mind is a lot more important than a couple million here or there, because we’re all filthy rich compared to what we came from in the first place. So I don’t think anybody’s crying over it. I just think that it sucks when you do start to think about what woulda happened, shoulda happened, so try to stay away from that (type of thinking) as much as possible.”
VanVleet was looking at a hefty pay raise in 2020, whether it comes from the Raptors or any of the other 29 teams in the league. He averaged a career-high 17.6 points per game along 6.6 assists and a 38.8% shooting clip from beyond the arc before the season was suspended.
The 6-foot Raptors point man will still get paid, but chances are that it won’t be as much as he previously expected due to salary cap shortcomings.
VanVleet and the Raptors were an impressive 46-18 before the hiatus and are hoping to get a chance to defend their title.