Fred VanVleet is slowly turned into a tremendous asset off the bench for the Toronto Raptors. He has upped his scoring from 2.9 points in his rookie season in 2016-17 to 11 points a contest this past season. He also posts 2.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.
Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri saw the potential this past offseason, signing the 5-foot-11 guard to a 2-year, $18 million contract during the July free agency period. According to Spotrac, he earned $8,653,847 for 2018-19 and is set to make $9,456,163 next year.
He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. There are no current rumors bubbling about trade deals for him, but he was darn close to becoming a Phoenix Sun.
Fred VanVleet Phoenix Suns Rumors
Bleacher Report stated last summer that the Suns were desperately looking for VanVleet to become the necessary point guard to unlock the pick-and-roll game with Deandre Ayton and facilitate in the backcourt with Devin Booker.
The Suns would benefit from a player of VanVleet’s ilk due to the change their backcourt is undergoing.
While starting point guard Brandon Knight is set to return in 2018-19 after missing all of last season due to injury, Elfrid Payton is an unrestricted free agent, and Tyler Ulis will reportedly be waived, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Suns did select French point guard Elie Okobo with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, but due to his inexperience and the fact that Knight is coming back from a torn ACL, another reliable point guard is needed.
VanVleet fits the bill, and at just 24 years of age, it is entirely possible that his best years are yet to come.
He instead stuck with Toronto, leaving the Suns to flounder to a Western Conference-worst 19-63 record.
Fred VanVleet 1st Half NBA Finals Stats
Over 16 minutes in the 1st half of the NBA Finals against the Warriors, VanVleet provided a spark off the bench with seven points (3-of-4 from the field) and two assists. The Raptors were plus-11 with him on the floor, leading to a 59-49 margin over Golden State at the break.
His seven points were more than any Warriors bench player to that point. Toronto is imposing its will inside with 26 combined points from its froncourt duo of Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam.