Toronto had been hesitant to exceed $90MM over three years, with one source describing it to Grange as a “glass ceiling.” Although VanVleet is one of the most accomplished players in franchise history, he has missed 30 combined games due to injury over the last two years and he shot career lows both from the field and from three-point range last season. There were also concerns that going beyond that limit would inhibit the team’s ability to make other moves, such as re-signing center Jakob Poeltl.
The situation changed when rumors of James Harden returning to Houston died down and the Raptors realized that VanVleet had become the Rockets’ number one target. During a meeting with VanVleet shortly after the start of free agency, Raptors officials presented him with an expanded offer that brought it to $120MM for four seasons.
Sources tell Grange that VanVleet next met with the Rockets, who also added a year to their offer, increasing it to three years at nearly $129MM. After nearly three hours of waiting, the Raptors learned that they were losing their starting point guard.
There’s more from Toronto:
- Lakers players will miss Dennis Schröder, whom the Raptors quickly signed as VanVleet’s replacement, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Austin Reaves called Schroder “one of the best teammates I’ve met” and said his commitment to winning over everything else made him stand out.
- Before OG Anunoby finalized a change in his representation, he told prospective agents that he wants a situation with more ball-handling and playmaking responsibilities when he signs his next contract, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. VanVleet’s departure and the addition of Darko Rajakovic as head coach might provide that opportunity for Anunoby in Toronto, Fischer suggests.
- James Wade is the latest addition to Rajakovic’s coaching staff, tweets James Kay of TheNextHoops. Wade had been the general manager and head coach of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky.