One of the cornerstones for the Toronto Raptors was Fred VanVleet, who spent seven seasons with the team.
VanVleet went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft and Toronto took a chance by signing him and it paid off. He was a key piece of the Raptors winning its first championship in 2019.
VanVleet hit free agency this past offseason after the Raptors got eliminated in the Play-In Tournament. VanVleet signed a huge three-year, $128.5 million max contract with the Houston Rockets.
The guard appeared on ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s ‘The Woj Podcast,’ to talk about his departure from Toronto:
“It was never easy. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made, especially as a professional, in my life.”
It must’ve been hard for VanVleet to leave the place that gave him a chance, but he believes that it was the right decision in the end:
“Once we got to that point where it was like, OK, they clearly are going in a different direction, this is not the situation that I was brought into and kind of nurtured in and cultured in and won a championship in. This is a different environment that they have to kind of start over a little bit, and I just wanted to be somewhere where I could be myself all the way through and not have to try to fit into a box. I think it was best for all parties.”
VanVleet also mentioned how the team was starting to go around Scottie Barnes and he didn’t see himself in that equation:
“It was just like a time where it’s like okay, it’s starting to go around Scottie [Barnes]. My value there wasn’t probably as great as it was in Houston.”
The 6’1″ guard appeared in 417 games with Toronto. He averaged 14.6 points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds on 40.2% from the field and 37.3% from 3-point range.
VanVleet at Rockets Media Day
This was not the first time Fred was asked about his decision to leave the Raptors.
At the Rockets Media Day, he was asked about it and he mentioned that calling Masai Ujiri about his decision was the hardest part.
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