The Houston Rockets have reached an agreement to sign point guard Fred VanVleet, team sources confirmed. Athletic On Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
- According to ESPN, the deal is a three-year, $130 million max contract. Late Friday, the Raptors and guard Dennis Schroder agreed to terms on a two-year, $26 million contract, according to ESPN.
- VanVleet declined his player option with the Toronto Raptors on June 12.
- The 29-year-old averaged 19.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.2 assists to go along with 1.8 steals in 69 games last season.
- VanVleet has spent his entire career in Toronto, with the team signing him as an undrafted free agent out of Wichita State in 2016. He won an NBA title with the Raptors in 2019.
What VanVleet Brings to Houston
The addition of Fred VanVleet, an established, talented player at a position of greatest need, is a major shift in Houston’s rebuilding timeline. Once it was realized internally that a future without James Harden was a viable path, the front office turned its attention to VanVleet, a hard-nosed natural playmaker, and was ready to aggressively pursue him.
In conversations between coach Ime Udoka and general manager Raphael Stone, the need for hitters was emphasized, and more importantly, leadership in the locker room. VanVleet brings experience, determination and poise — key factors that will help young players like Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. develop. Instantly raises the floor and ceiling of this group. — It’s there
With Fred VanVleet, the Rockets land their leader
What does VanVleet mean to the Raptors?
VanVliet may have been hyped as Kyle Lowry’s heir apparent, but he’s been a testament to the Raptors’ best development system. He was a key piece on the All-Star first championship team, beating out a veteran for the backup spot and winning the 15th roster spot.
Credit to VanVleet for getting the job done, but the Raptors helped him along the way. Now, there’s no player who hit some big shots in the championship-clinching game of the 2019 NBA Finals. — Grow up
What are the Raptors getting in Schroder?
It’s not a perfect fit. Schroder shot just 32.4 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s last year, and the Raptors put the ball in the hands of their playmaking forwards Pascal Siakam and Scotty Barnes. He gives the Raptors some much-needed explosiveness off the dribble, but the geometry can be complicated in a half-court offense. With VanVleet, a great shooter, it already was.
This move means the Raptors’ spending power is much less in other ways. One wonders if they could dangle some draft equity to Washington for Thaddeus Young or Chris Boucher and Monte Morris or Delon Wright, who have yet to be officially waived. — Grow up
The Raptors’ trade deadline plan has come back to haunt them
VanVleet, named an All-Star for the 2021-22 season, has career averages of 14.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He has averaged 36.8 minutes over the last four seasons.
AthleticJohn Hollinger recently ranked VanVleet at no. 3 ranked free agent, based on the BORD$ method of calculating contract value.
(Photo: Winslow Townson/USA Today)