Returning Raptors guard Fred VanVleet discussed his new four-year, $85MM deal with the club and the league’s current perception of the Raptors, during a remote Tuesday conference, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
“I think we’re kind of headed back in the direction of where we were pre-Kawhi [Leonard], where people are overlooking us again, which is not a bad place to be in,” VanVleet said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ve got to get a lot better as individuals, and then we’ll go out there and see what we can do.”
There’s more out of Toronto:
- The Raptors will start the 2020/21 NBA season in Tampa, playing in Amalie Arena, the home of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. But the team’s first choice was apparently a different Florida hockey arena. Toronto preferred the Florida Panthers’ home arena, the BB&T Center in Sunrise, tweets Scott Soshnick of Sportico. However, they couldn’t agree with the nearby Heat on certain “stipulations” and ended up pivoting to Tampa, per Soshnick.
- New Raptors center Aron Baynes is excited to bring his recently-expanded offensive skillset to a playoff contender in Toronto, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN. “I’m just looking forward to coming in and playing with these guys, because I know what they’re all about,” Baynes said. “That’s what it is at the end of the day – we want to win and give ourselves the best chance to be able within shooting distance of getting that ultimate prize.”
- Following his recent restricted free agency payday, Raptors big man Chris Boucher intends to maintain his hardworking ethos, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. “I’ve been in Toronto the whole summer just to make sure that I was working on my stuff and learning the game as much as I can,” Boucher said. “So it’s about the next step, and they always told me that and it’s be an everyday contributor, so that’s what we’re working on now.”