Fred VanVleet Signs with Houston Rockets: Largest Deal in NBA History for Undrafted Player

The Houston Rockets will have a new look in the 2023-24 season after hiring Ime Udoka as head coach and drafting Amen Thompson with the No. 4 pick. But they made a huge move to begin NBA free agency by signing Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet to a 3-year deal worth $130 million. This is a max contract and the largest deal in NBA history for an undrafted player.

Saying Goodbye to Toronto

Fred VanVleet
Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

The 29-year-old VanVleet has spent all 7 of his NBA seasons with the Raptors, helping the team win a championship in 2019 and making his only All-Star team in 2022. VanVleet turned down a $22.8 million player option to stay in Toronto for another season, so he will take his talents to help the Houston turnaround.

VanVleet became a full-time starter in the 2019-20 season. Over the last 4 seasons, he has averaged 19.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. He only shots 39.9% from the field, but he takes a high volume of 3-point shots and shoots 36.7% from distance. He also averages 1.8 steals per game, which would have led the Rockets last season.

The Fit in Houston

The Rockets are a very young team with Jalen Green (20), Jabari Smith Jr. (19), and Kevin Porter Jr. (22), and Alperen Sengun (20) all 22 or younger last season. VanVleet will give an immediate veteran presence and leadership in the locker room, which new coach Udoka will greatly appreciate as his Boston team was filled with veterans.

VanVleet could become the Rockets’ best 3-point shooter, lead the team in assists, and he will be an invaluable resource for bringing rookie Amen Thompson along as a playmaker.

The deal is large, but at 29, VanVleet should still have a few more years of his prime left.

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