Fred VanVleet is having a career year: 18.6 points and 7.5 assists a game, both career highs, while shooting 40 percent from three — and doing all of it while having to take on more of the offense. VanVleet, who will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, is playing himself into a big contract.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks, a former Nets’ executive, said on The Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective Podcast he heard more than $25 million a season.
“One team told me last week that they think he’s going to get between $25 million and $30 million per season.”
That seems high, but in a down free agent market next summer talented players could get overpaid.
VanVleet has been good this season and critical for Toronto, he might even make the All-Star team. However, $25 million is No. 1 option money. Build your team around this guy money. VanVleet is not that. He has grown his game to the point that maybe he can be a No. 2 or No. 3 option on a good team — so far this season VanVleet has been a good No. 2 to Pascal Siakam — but he’s not a No. 1 guy. There are second options making that much money out there, but those teams tend to be hamstrung by the cap eventually.
If you said, “VanVleet will get a four-year, $90 million offer,” I could see that. More than that, four years north of $100 million? I don’t know.
But it only takes one team, and VanVleet gets that money.