Landry Fields asked for clarification from his agent when the Toronto Raptors offered him a three-year, $18.8 million contract as a restricted free agent in 2012.
“Wait, did you say eight or 18?” Fields remembers asking his agent Chris Emens.
Emens had said 18.
“That number was way beyond what we would have thought would be a home run for me in free agency,” Fields said. “Eight would have been like, ‘OK, cool. I’m good.’ But that, for me, was an absolute home run.”
The Raptors and New York Knicks were both also competing to sign Steve Nash, so Toronto thought they would improve their chances to sign Nash by removing Fields from the Knicks. Nash instead decided to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“To this day, I haven’t even really looked into it, to be honest,” Fields said. “That’s what they offered me, so how they got there, I’m not really concerned with. My agent was over the moon and we were both ecstatic about it. I was just super grateful that they would have that belief in me to give me that contract at this number, and then also tell me their vision for me as a player. I was just like, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable.’”
Fields ended up playing in just 107 games with the Raptors over three seasons as he dealt with a nerve issue that persists to this day.
“It was absolute hell for me,” he said. “The injuries are one thing, and not knowing what to even do about it, and not having any doctor tell you it’s this or it’s that. Now you’re juggling expectations of fans or maybe even a front office. And sometimes you can see frustration.
“At that point in time, fans, and their faces, it made way too much of an impact on my mental life. They’re like, ‘Oh, like it was a waste of money.’ I saw a lot of credence given to those voices and people saying, ‘I told you so.’”