Apr 30, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez (21) on the bench in the final minutes against the Brooklyn Nets in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto defeated Brooklyn 115-113. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland star and 2010 ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez concluded his fourth season in the NBA this past Sunday. The 6’6″ point guard, who spent four years at Maryland, was traded in the offseason following his best NBA season from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Sacramento Kings. After just eighteen games into the 2013-2014 season, the Kings traded Vasquez to the Toronto Raptors. Both moves turned out to favor Vasquez, as the Pelicans and Kings missed the NBA Playoffs while the Raptors finished third in the Eastern Conference.
Vasquez has struggled to find a stable home since entering the NBA in the 2010 NBA Draft. He has played for the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, and now the Raptors. Each stop has helped Greivis to shape his game and show doubters that his style of play does translate to the NBA. While every coach has raved about his work ethic and professionalism, it has so far not been enough for a team to make a long term investment on him.
That could all change in Toronto this offseason. Vasquez’s rookie deal has run out and this summer he will become a restricted free agent, and teams will have a chance to submit offers to Vasquez. Toronto will have a chance to match any offers that come Vasquez’s way if they wish to keep him in a Raptors uniform long term.
Greivis has provided every team he has been on with good production from the point guard spot, but this hasn’t been enough for a team to keep him in town for longer then a season. Toronto might be a different situation because of Greivis’ relationship with the Raptors General Manager, Masai Ujiri. The two first met in Rio de Janeiro when Vasquez was 10 years old, and Ujiri was coaching an NBA camp. Ujiri played a large role in bringing Vasquez from Venezuela to Montrose Christian High School when he was 17 years old.
Vasquez averaged 9.5 PPG 3.7 APG and 2.3 RPG this season in Toronto. There were difficulties at first when Vasquez was making the transition from Sacramento to Toronto, but once he felt more comfortable, Vasquez and former Kings teammate Patrick Patterson (2010 NBA Draft, 14th pick from Kentucky) led the Raptors second unit that played a large role in guiding the Raptors to the three seed in the East.
Unfortunately, Toronto’s run in the NBA Playoffs came to an end on Sunday afternoon. Vasquez was saddled with foul trouble after picking up three quick fouls in the first half and spent much of the game on the bench. The Raptors lost game seven to the Brooklyn Nets, who will now face the Miami Heat.
Once again, Vasquez will face questions about where his NBA future will take him and if Toronto believes enough in him to keep him there long term. Starting point guard Kyle Lowry will become an unrestricted free agent this season after finishing up his best NBA season. Vasquez will remain a cheap option for Toronto to secure a back-up point guard, and also a guard that can play alongside Lowry. Hopefully Vasquez’s late season performance and his relationship with Ujiri can keep him shimmying around Toronto for a couple more seasons.