NBA rumors: Pacers, Rockets explored sign-and-trade options for Fred VanVleet

The Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets expressed exploratory interest in a potential sign-and-trade deal to land VanVleet before he re-signed with Toronto, league sources told HoopsHype. The New York Knicks had an exploratory interest in VanVleet during the free agency process.

More on Fred VanVleet Free Agency

Following a meeting with VanVleet, Raptors president Masai Ujiri told The Athletic, “He always wanted to come back. We love Fred; he loves us. When free agency comes, other teams go after good players. We all do the same thing.” Ujiri and Raptors general manager Bobby Webster were on hand during the meeting, HoopsHype has learned.

https://twitter.com/FredVanVleet/status/746204376901910528
Marc Berman: Knicks really didn’t pursue Fred VanVleet in the end. Their intel had him a lock to return to Toronto. They also at this point are much aware about 2021 flexibility and not going to force anything and overpay.
Shams Charania: VanVleet's contract includes a player option in the fourth season, sources said. His agency, @ParLay_SE , has done $145M in contracts over last two days.

http://twitter.com/KnickSchool/status/1329897584803110912
Ordinarily there might be a feeding frenzy for a player like VanVleet, a proven scorer who, at 26, is just hitting his prime. But this is a quirky market. VanVleet telegraphed his intentions on a recent podcast appearance with J.J. Redick, saying he wanted to “cash out” this offseason; that, sources say, can be translated as VanVleet looking for a deal in the $20 million per year neighborhood. Detroit’s interest in VanVleet is mild, a source said. The Knicks could give a long look, as VanVleet fills a badly needed position and is a proven winner, no small thing for a young Knicks roster in need of leaders. But will anyone outbid Toronto? The Raptors are committed to bringing back VanVleet, with Toronto hoping to keep its core together until the next summer, when (again) they hope to be players for a big ticket free agent.
According to league sources, the top free-agent point guard on the market, Fred VanVleet, probably will re-sign with the Raptors. The Knicks have interest, but would rather not be used by VanVleet to get a better offer from the Raptors and don’t want to give out a maximum contract.
The word around the NBA is the Raptors maintain a quiet confidence they can get something done with their 26-year-old homegrown star: the relationship is good, the lines of communications remain open, they have history. As well, in theory, they can match or exceed any deal given VanVleet is their own free agent.
In his first year as a starter, the former Wichita State star thrived, averaging 17.6 points, 6.6 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals while shooting 39.0 percent from 3-point range. He is on the Knicks’ radar, according to sources, though it is uncertain if they see him as a maximum contract player. The Knicks are in desperate need of a point guard, though, unless they can find that player in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Raptors do own his Bird rights, which means they can go over the salary cap to re-sign him.
Top Ball Coverage: Fred VanVleet on his priorities in free agency: “I’ve won a championship, now it’s time to cash out.”
But Wojnarowski believes things have to start with drafting well, and developing those talents. “I don’t think this will be a quick fix,” Wojnarowski said. “They have to start drafting well. And I know Fred VanVleet is a player that certainly a lot of teams would like to get at. He would fill a great need for the Knicks. I think it’s hard to get him out of Toronto.”
VanVleet is the only point guard who projects to be worth starter money, putting him in a commanding position in a market where multiple teams figure to be looking at point guards. In particular, New York and Detroit loom as possibilities and both have max cap room, if he doesn’t return to Toronto. VanVleet is good, but the other allure here is that the 26-year-old is relatively young for an unrestricted free agent, so on a three- or four-year deal, a team is figuring to lock up the best seasons of his career. His intangibles likely add luster, as his rep is as one of the league’s smartest and most respected players. That said, there isn’t a ton of upside here, and it’s possible that VanVleet’s fit in Toronto — where he can alternate playing on or off the ball — might not work as well in a place like Detroit, where he would be asked to command the offense.
Darren Wolfson: #Timberwolves RFA Malik Beasley is now represented by agent Brian Jungreis. Him and Klutch Sports parted ways months ago, officially very recently, Jungreis will be busy when FA starts since he also reps Fred Van Vleet.
The agent noted that DeRozan could reunite with former Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet and coach Dwane Casey in Detroit, where Casey leads the Pistons. "That relationship with the former coach is strong. Comes down to money (for VanVleet) and the situation in Toronto is rough with the taxes. VanVleet on the Pistons elevates his status as the number 1-2 guy on a team," the agent said.
The Raptors have two primary goals this offseason: re-sign guard Fred VanVleet, and do so without eating too much into their max cap space for 2021. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, any VanVleet deal around four years and $80 million should keep Toronto in the superstar race next offseason. But things get dicey if the Raptors start competing with bigger offers for one of their most important players.
A few notes on the Knicks and Fred VanVleet: There have been several reports tying the Knicks and VanVleet together. Our friends at Daily Knicks can tell you who first mentioned it, but I think The Athletic, Knicks Film School and the New York Daily News have all mentioned VanVleet as a Knicks target.
League sources say that VanVleet is indeed among the free agent options under consideration by New York. I don’t know how strong the Knicks’ interest in VanVleet is, but there was one report about New York preparing an offer of more than $20 million per season for the point guard.
Clearly, that’s the kind of offer a team would need to make to try to pry VanVleet from Toronto. But a source familiar with the matter strongly disputes the idea that New York has any offer prepared for VanVleet at the moment. That said, it makes sense that VanVleet would be on New York’s radar as a potential free agent target.
There are two scenarios that would likely impact their approach on VanVleet: If the club traded for Chris Paul, it’s hard to see them also spending the money required to sign VanVleet; if they take one of the top point guards in the 2020 NBA Draft, it’s also hard to see them spending the money it would take to acquire VanVleet.
“You want to start with whoever our free agents are,” Ujiri said. "There’s a priority for Fred. We also have to look at the game and see where the game is going. We are all waiting on the cap to see where the numbers fall. We also have to look at free agency in 2021. We have to look at the short-term future and the long-term future. "This is where we really have to buckle down and make an assessment of what bubble basketball was against what the outside-the-bubble basketball was. This is our time. You support as much as you want during the bubble, during the playoffs. But now is the time to work.
Beloved basketball player Fred VanVleet is nearing the end of his two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors, and one local restaurant is doing everything they can to try and convince him to stay in the city. Popular downtown restaurant Pai posted a video on Instagram this morning showing a new sticker displayed on their front door, and it reads "Vanvleet and eat - Keep Fred VanVleet in Toronto." The sticker also says "Freddy eats here for free," and includes an animated image of the athlete's face.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFPTyM3hRkI/
Unfortunately for the Bucks, the 2020 free-agent class is shallow, and they don’t have much salary cap flexibility aside from the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, projected to be worth about $10 million annually. A player like Fred VanVleet is well out of their range. Goran Dragic also could be too pricey, and league front office sources expect him to stay in Miami anyway.
The Knicks, are interested in Toronto’s Fred VanVleet, according to a source, but throwing a ton of money at an undersized point guard is risky. VanVleet, 26, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, went undrafted in 2016 but developed into an important piece of Toronto’s championship run last year. He’s still in the bubble, but facing an 0-2 deficit to the Celtics in the second round.
VanVleet is a shoe free agent and has multiple suitors for a new deal, sources say. And on the court, expect a strong market for the free-agent-to-be: Detroit, New York and Phoenix are expected to emerge as suitors for VanVleet outside Toronto, sources said.
Finally, there is one other outside-the-box option — going much bigger and making a play for Toronto’s Fred VanVleet. He is the best free-agent point guard by a mile. The Hawks would have to be comfortable starting VanVleet next to Young and then sliding him over to the point when Young checks out. VanVleet is generously listed at 6-1, so that leaves the Hawks very small in the backcourt. But he is built like a bowling ball and handles bigger players well. This would be expensive. VanVleet will have multiple suitors, likely including Detroit, New York and his own Toronto Raptors, and his price tag is going to be in the $20 million-per-year range for three or four years. But he definitely would solve the problem.
I’ll mention one other guy since I’ve heard his name connected to the Knicks: Fred Van Vleet. He would likely be a decent value. I have him projected at a $20.7 million valuation next season, and the Knicks would be buying his age 26 through 29 seasons on a four-year deal — presumably his prime years. The Knicks should walk away if the annual price gets too high, but at something around $20 million a year, he’s a solid value who still lets the Knicks have max room in 2021.
VanVleet is in the midst of his best season, averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game in his first year as a full-time starter. He’s in position to command a significant raise on his current $9.35MM salary, but reduced revenue due to the league’s hiatus figures to lessen the value of his next contract. “I think about it. I’m human,” VanVleet said. “I feel like I worked myself in good position. I was having a hell of a year and I was planning on having a great playoffs to cap that off. I think I was in good shape. And I think, more so than worrying about what would’ve, could’ve, should’ve happened is more so like, what’s going to happen? Are they going to move the dates around? Does free agency move? How does it affect the cap? Those types of things are more so what I’m thinking about versus, ‘Oh, woe is me.'”
VanVleet is in the midst of his best season, averaging 17.6 points and 6.6 assists per game in his first year as a full-time starter. He’s in position to command a significant raise on his current $9.35MM salary, but reduced revenue due to the league’s hiatus figures to lessen the value of his next contract. “I think about it. I’m human,” VanVleet said. “I feel like I worked myself in good position. I was having a hell of a year and I was planning on having a great playoffs to cap that off. I think I was in good shape. And I think, more so than worrying about what would’ve, could’ve, should’ve happened is more so like, what’s going to happen? Are they going to move the dates around? Does free agency move? How does it affect the cap? Those types of things are more so what I’m thinking about versus, ‘Oh, woe is me.'”
Fred VanVleet projects to be one of the NBA's most coveted unrestricted free agents during the 2020 offseason. "One team told me last week that they think he's going to get between $25 million and $30 million per season," said Bobby Marks on The Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective Podcast.
The 25-year-old could be raising his price tag with each passing game, especially over this last month, but that’s a good problem for the Raptors to have and something they’ll happily worry about in seven months from now if it means VanVleet continues to blossom in front of their eyes. “I think he's a heck of a player, man,’ Nurse said. “He guards, he shoots, he runs the team, he's a winner, makes big shots. I just think his numbers and minutes are way up because the opportunity presented itself and like a lot of guys he's taking advantage of the opportunity.” “I’m just trying to continue to be better and be a leader on this team and help contribute to wins,” VanVleet said. “I’m most happy with the wins so that’s all that matters.”
Fred VanVleet is now on the final year of his of a two-year deal he signed with the Toronto Raptors last season. Given his stellar performance which paved the way for the franchise’s first-ever title, the guard may be it for a huge payday. He understands, however, that his future is still not etched in stone. There are things that could happen that might lead him to a brand new team. But in a ‘perfect world,’ VanVleet wants to be a Raptor long term. “I’ve been here. This is the team that gave me my chance, I think we understand that. I’m not gonna speak too much on free agency this year just ’cause it’s a business and I have to do what’s best for me and my family,” VanVleet said during an appearance on Tim and Sid on Wednesday. “But, I mean, I’ve been on record about how I feel about this place. This organization knows how I feel about this place. So in a perfect world, we know what would happen.”
HoopsHype: Overall, how was your free-agency experience? I know restricted free agency can be tough for some guys, but it seemed to be pretty easy and quick for you. Fred VanVleet: It was a good experience. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it. But, like you said, it went by pretty easy and fast. It was over with pretty quick. I was kind of anxious going into it, just not knowing what to expect or how things might shake out. I knew where I wanted to be and I had a feeling what Toronto was going to do, but you never really know until it’s actually time to get a deal. Then, once [the free-agency period started], it wrapped up pretty quick.
HoopsHype: Were there any surprises? Everyone imagines free agency, but then sometimes it’s different than they expected. Did any aspect surprise you? Fred VanVleet: You never really know what’s going to happen until you’re actually in it. I had been given some indications [that certain teams would pursue me] from different people around the league. We had a network of people around the league so we could find out what other teams might be interested. But, again, you never really know [if the interest is real] until they actually throw an offer at you when free agency officially starts. There were some surprises right at midnight, right after free agency started, but nothing serious enough to where I wanted to change my plan and not re-sign with the Raptors. It was flattering; it’s always nice to be wanted and to see teams calling and inquiring about you and trying to find a way to add you to their team. But, like I said, it wasn’t anything substantial enough and it didn’t happen fast enough for me to stray from my plan [of re-signing with Toronto]. If I wanted to explore those options, I would’ve had to put the Raptors’ things on hold and stall them out to see if these other things would fall into place and that just didn’t really make sense to me.
Josh Lewenberg: VanVleet said he missed the initial call from Masai at 12:01am on July 1 because he had to run to Walgreens to pick something up for his young daughter, but locked in the deal shortly after. "From my end it was a super easy decision"
Josh Lewenberg: Fred VanVleet and the Raptors brass are heading to Vegas for Summer League later this afternoon. Now that the moratorium is lifted, they're not wasting time in making their new deal official. Press conference scheduled for 12:30pm.
Shams Charania: Restricted free agent Fred VanVleet has agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal to return to Toronto, league sources tell Yahoo.
Sean Deveney: Derrick Favors of the @Utah Jazz is expected to test the free-agent market, but both sides expect him to return to the Jazz, sources told Sporting News. If any team is willing to gamble on him, it could be the @Phoenix Suns. But Phoenix is also looking at @Toronto Raptors PG Fred VanVleet.
Josh Lewenberg: Raps can match any offer VanVleet gets & retaining him is a top priority, I'm told. Teams can't offer more than ~$8.5M in yrs 1 & 2 (Raps included) but if somebody backloads a 4yr offer sheet Toronto will have a tough decision to make, given its tax crunch. How much is too much?
Josh Lewenberg: Sense I get is VanVleet wants to stay in Toronto and the Raptors want him back, and can match any offer he gets. A reunion is likely, but concern for Raps is if a team backloads a 4-year offer sheet. Suns and Magic loom as threats.
When you talk about your free agency, knowing you're restricted, is it still your top preference to come back? [...] Fred VanVleet: "Nothing's changed for me. [Dwane Casey] was a big part of that, just my familiarity and comfort level and obviously, I was playing a lot of minutes, and, you know, a coach could come in and it may not work out that way. But I can't worry about that. I'm going to be loyal to the organization that gave me a chance and I love the city of Toronto, I love the fans, I love the people here, and I would love to be back. So hopefully it can work out. Obviously, you'd like to be wanted. You want all parties to find a way to make it work. And that's what we're gonna shoot for. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks."
Ryan Wolstat: "Winning comes first," Fred VanVleet says on free agency. Also mentions he's restricted, so doesn't have "ultimate green light to go somewhere else." "I love it here, this is the place that gave me a chance, gave me the opportunity. I'm a loyal guy."
VanVleet is 24, and will be among a crowd of restricted free agents who should get more attention than usual this year because so many teams are tight against the luxury tax, including Toronto. VanVleet is likely to command an offer in the $12 million-per-year range, and matching it would require the Raptors to shell out exponentially more than the contract’s value — around an extra $20 million in taxes for the first season. Center Lucas Nogueira is the only other free-agent decision to be made. He can be a restricted free agent and has a $4.1 million qualifying offer for next year.
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