VanVleet could opt out of his player option for the 2023-24 season and hit the open market this coming offseason. The Raptors will have to make a big decision regarding VanVleet’s future, especially since the team could lose him for nothing in free agency if he signs with another team.
“In terms of what VanVleet will be looking for on the open market, the four-year, $130 million deal that Tyler Herro got last fall is expected to be the baseline,” TSN’s Josh Lewenberg wrote. “Officially, the Raptors don’t have to decide whether they’re going to be the team that gives it to him until July. Essentially, though, they’ve got to make that decision over the next five weeks, ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline, or they risk losing him for nothing.”
Herro, 22, received a major extension from Miami before the regular season started after winning the league’s Sixth Man of the Year award.
VanVleet has been a key player for the Raptors for several seasons now, and he’s become the No. 1 guard on the team since Kyle Lowry was dealt to Miami in a sign-and-trade deal ahead of the 2021-22 regular season.
A one-time All-Star, VanVleet turns 29 during the 2022-23 season. The Raptors have to decide whether or not they are willing to stick with him for the long haul, especially since they have gotten out to a slow start this season.
Toronto is just 16-23 and holds the No. 12 spot in the Eastern Conference.
VanVleet has struggled with efficiency in the 2022-23 campaign, shooting just 37.7 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from beyond the arc. He’s putting up the worst field-goal percentage since his rookie season and 3-point percentage of his NBA career.
Still, the point guard is averaging 18.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. There’s no doubt that he can be an effective player for Toronto moving forward, but the team may want a bit of a reset given this season’s struggles.
If that is the case, the Raptors could look to move VanVleet at the trade deadline or hope to find a sign-and-trade deal for him in the offseason.
The Raptors have several pieces, including O.G. Anunoby and Pascal Siakam, who could become available if the team decides to go into a bit of a rebuilding phase.
It will be interesting to see how VanVleet’s market shapes up this coming offseason if he does opt out of his deal.