ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Fred VanVleet agreed to a three-year, $130 million contract with the Houston Rockets. The 29-year-old declined a $22.8 million option to play for the Raptors next season and has the largest contract for any undrafted player in league history. Van Vleet is now the oldest player on the Rockets roster with Frank Kaminsky, D.J. Augustin, Boban Marjanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein all free agents.
VanVleet averaged 19.3 points, 7.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals last season while shooting 40% from the field. He averaged 36.7 minutes and played in 69 games, finishing the season as a top-30 fantasy option. One area where he should make an immediate impact in is helping the Rockets protect the ball. Houston ranked 29th in points allowed per 100 possessions and turnovers were a significant issue.
The Rockets finished last in turnover percentage. It was so bad that Houston allowed 20.6 points per game off turnovers, worst in the league. VanVleet ranked in the top 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio. The Rockets also ranked last in 3-point field goal percentage. VanVleet is one of two players with 1,000 career triples in Raptors history. He also ranks fourth in total steals.
The Rockets are trending in the right direction and VanVleet, who’s still in his prime, will help them get back on track. Despite VanVleet teaming up with Jalen Green in the backcourt, Kevin Porter Jr. is expected to take on the role of backup point guard, which will diminish his fantasy value. VanVleet gives the Rockets the veteran presence they’ve been searching for, and his contract suggests he’ll have a high usage rate in the upcoming season. A top-20 fantasy finish is possible. VanVleet can be a reliable source of points, assists, triples and steals for fantasy managers.
VanVleet’s departure opens the door for Scottie Barnes to take center stage for the Raptors. During his exit interview, Barnes said conditioning is one area where he needs to improve before next season. Last season, he ranked just inside the top 100 in category formats. There is a chance he’ll finish in the top 50 in 2023-24.
Wojnarowski also reported that the Raptors signed Dennis Schroder to a two-year, $26 million contract. That’s pretty impressive for a guy who appeared to be on his way out of the league last offseason. As a member of the Lakers last season, Schroder averaged 12.6 points, 4.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 41.5% from the field. Barnes is fantasy-relevant, and don’t fool yourself: The Raptors will run through him and Pascal Siakam now.
2023 NBA free agency – Fantasy basketball impact, signings, more