(CTN News) – According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Fred VanVleet and the Houston Rockets have signed a three-year contract worth $130 million.
The contract marks the NBA’s first max contract of the free agency period.
As reported by Wojnarowski, the Raptors signed Dennis Schröder to a two-year, $26 million contract to replace their reload in the backcourt.
A full 69 games for the Raptors were played by Fred VanVleet, 29, who averaged 19.3 points (39/33/90 shooting splits), 7.2 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.8 steals over the course of the season.
Earlier this week, Fred VanVleet declined an offer from Toronto of $22.8 million to sign a new contract and entered free agency unrestricted.
One of the most accomplished undrafted players in league history, Fred VanVleet graduated from Wichita State in 2016 and was invited to training camp in Toronto.
He earned a roster spot and split his time between Toronto and its G League affiliate. During the Raptors’ run to their only championship in 2019, the 6-foot-1, 197-pound guard scored 22 points during the title-clinching Game 6.
In the absence of Kawhi Leonard, VanVleet partnered with six-time All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry to lead the Raptors to 53 victories and a Game 7 victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2019-20.
It was the signing of Fred VanVleet, a free agent in 2020, which resulted in the aging Lowry being rendered expendable in 2021 by the four-year, $85 million contract VanVleet signed with Toronto.
In his debut season with a top-10 defensive team, VanVleet averaged 19-6-6 on a 40/38/87 shooting split on a 40/38/87 shooting split in the regular season.
As a result, the Raptors are trending in the opposite direction. Despite the presence of VanVleet, two-time All-NBA forward Pascal Siakam and a host of versatile players, including OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes, they have missed the playoffs twice in the past three years.
After losing to the Chicago Bulls in the play-in tournament, Fred VanVleet told reporters that his free-agent decision was not influenced by Toronto’s slide.
There is a lot of value and weight in the fact that I have spent my entire NBA career here. Management and coaching have a good working relationship, and that has not changed.
This season has not been easy for me and I do not necessarily wish to experience it again.
It is my opinion that we can certainly improve on our performance from last year.”
The Toronto Raptors fired head coach Nick Nurse a week later and replaced him with Darko Rajakovic. Rajakovic spent the last decade working as an assistant coach for Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, and Memphis Grizzlies.
At the February deadline,immune to trade speculation, VanVleet, who drew interest from the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Suns, among others. VanVleet’s retention in free agency ultimately depended on Toronto’s ability to retain him.