Rockets fans shouldn’t expect Fred VanVleet‘s production to match up with the three-year, $128MM+ contract he received in free agency, Eric Koreen of The Athletic states during a discussion with fellow Athletic writer Kelly Iko.
VanVleet’s salary is based on the amount of money the Rockets had to spend and a late bidding war with the Raptors, who were trying to keep him. Although Koreen expects VanVleet to help move the Rockets in the right direction, he adds that the veteran point guard won’t become the number one option in clutch situations.
Houston’s disorganization over the past three seasons began with the lack of a true point guard, which is why there was a desire to add VanVleet. Koreen points out that he averaged 3.54 assists per turnover last season, which ranked third in the league. VanVleet should create better scoring opportunities for his young teammates while avoiding costly turnovers that have plagued the Rockets during their rebuilding process.
Koreen also expects VanVleet to make a difference as a team leader. New coach Ime Udoka doesn’t mind challenging players directly, so VanVleet won’t have to do that. Koreen sees his role as a “translator” who can help make sure that Udoka’s harsh messages are received constructively.
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Rockets officials are happy with the commitment they’ve seen from Jalen Green this summer, team sources tell Iko in a separate story. Green trained extensively with other NBA players in California, and Udoka was often in attendance. Green was reportedly “stronger, fitter and most importantly, smarter” when he showed up in Las Vegas to be part of the Select Team.
- The Spurs considered two potential offers for Lakers guard Austin Reaves in free agency, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. San Antonio pondered a maximum contract that would have paid Reaves about $100MM over four years and a shorter arrangement valued at $60MM over three years. The Spurs and everyone else were eventually dissuaded by L.A.’s insistence that it would match any offer given to Reaves.
- The Pelicans are offering fans a chance at cash prizes if the team wins the first-ever in-season tournament, writes Christian Clark of NOLA. One hundred fans would split a $1MM cash prize, giving them $10,000 each. To be eligible, fans must purchase a mobile ticket and attend at least one tournament game in New Orleans.