Former Raptor Fred VanVleet returned to Toronto on Feb. 9.
He was unable to play against the Raptors due to an adductor injury but he was present courtside.
VanVleet got an ovation from the fans and also got a touching tribute video by the Raptors.
From undrafted to becoming an NBA champion, VanVleet had a great tenure in Toronto:
From undrafted ➡️ NBA Champion.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 10, 2024
Before the game VanVleet weighed in on the Raptors roster turnover per TSN’s Josh Lewenberg:
“That’s really the only way it was ever going to go. It was just a matter of when. Once you set off on that trajectory, this is what it looks like. It’s hard for fans of the team, people who follow the team and people on the team that were heavily invested in that group. But I think it was time to turn over a new leaf and I think they’re making all the right moves to head int the direction that they want to go in. That’s really the only way it was going to go.”
The Raptors have gone through major changes within the last year.
They first lost VanVleet who signed with the Houston Rockets last offseason and then traded O.G. Anunoby to the New York Knicks and Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers.
The Raptors officially moved on from their old core to bring in their new young core of Scottie Barnes, Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett.
However, as VanVleet alluded to the writing was on the wall for the Raptors to embrace a rebuild and start anew.
The team was not going to contend as constructed and they were stuck in the middle with no clear direction.
Now the Raptors can focus on developing their young players and building for the future.
Next on tap
The Raptors will look to make it 3 wins in a row when they host the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers tonight.
The Cavaliers have won 15 of their last 16 games so the Raptors will have their hands full in this matchup.
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