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Raptors, Fred VanVleet agree to four-year, $85M deal

Last Updated Nov 21, 2020 at 1:50 pm EST

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) celebrates his three point basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during NBA overtime action in Toronto on Tuesday Oct. 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The Toronto Raptors are keeping Fred VanVleet in their backcourt, agreeing to a four-year deal with the guard worth $85 million, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange can confirm.

The agreement, initially reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, includes a player option in the fourth year. The contract starts at $21.25 million next season, decreases by eight per cent in 2021-22, then ramps up again, per Grange. This structure helps the Raptors preserve some cap space heading into the loaded 2021 off-season.

Grange recently reported that VanVleet would meet with the Raptors and one or two other suitors on Saturday in Chicago, near his hometown of Rockford, Ill.

VanVleet seemingly confirmed the news himself, by quote tweeting an old tweet of his that said “Bet on yourself,” with three emojis of money bags.

Raptors Kyle Lowry congratulated VanVleet with a post on Instagram, saying “Bet on yourself!”

This day has legit come from blood sweet and broken teeth … I’m so happy for him, y’all don’t understand man,” said Lowry in the post. “Since day one, I knew this man was special!! He’s now seeing the blessing from the hard work he’s been putting in.”

Recently, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster described re-signing VanVleet as the team’s “top priority” of the off-season.

VanVleet, who initially signed with the Raptors in July of 2016 after going undrafted that year, spent much of his first pro season — and a bit of his second — with the G League’s Raptors 905.

During the 2019-20 season, he posted career-best averages in points (17.6), assists (6.6) and rebounds (3.8) as an every-game starter for the first time.