Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

Fred VanVleet rejected a four-year, $114 million extension offer from the Toronto Raptors prior to this 2022-2023 season, TSN’s Josh Lewenberg reported this Saturday.

Per Lewenberg, VanVleet, turning down the deal, came in with no such surprise given his ‘Bet on Yourself’ mantra that he’s been living up as an undrafted cager.

“Prior to the start of the season, VanVleet turned down a contract extension valued at roughly $114 million, the maximum Toronto could offer at the time, according to a source. He’s eligible to sign an extension up to that value until the end of the campaign, but considering he can make more in free agency and he literally wears the mantra ‘Bet on Yourself’ across his chest, it’s not a surprise that he would prefer to let his current deal expire before negotiating a new one.”

For added context, Michael Grange of Sportsnet relayed that both sides have mutually agreed not to reach an agreement, with “no deadline discussed.”

VanVleet had a humbling, Cinderella story for the Raptors. Upon entering the league as an undrafted prospect in 2015, he then went on to carve his way up to the top and became the team’s coveted core foundation alongside Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.

Turning into a significant contributor to the team’s title exploits in 2019 while enjoying improvements throughout the years, VanVleet earned his bag and inked a four-year, $85-million contract with Toronto in the 2020 offseason. He then went on to become an All-Star guard last season – becoming the first undrafted player since Ben Wallace to do so.

While he had wonderful years of his own, this year has been troubling in his bid to accept a much bigger payday. He is just averaging 18.8 points on a lopsided 37.7% shooting while tallying a career-worst 32.5 percent from the three-point territory.

VanVleet still owns a player option for next season worth $22.8 million, but all signs are pointing to the possibility that he’ll opt out in hopes to gain an increased and much more lucrative contract.

As such, his current zigzag play appears not reliable to raise his value, as the Raptors are currently 16-23 in Conference standings while facing questions if they will continue the climb or head towards rebuilding.

In the end, VanVleet can only hope that he’ll be able to break his individual slump and aid the Raptors back to contention – things that will truly elevate his desire to cash out in a big-time amount.