Fred VanVleet Just Signed The Largest Contract Ever For An Undrafted Player


We always love stories of players betting on themselves with tremendous results. Perhaps no NBA player exemplifies that better than guard Fred VanVleet. He entered the league seven years ago, signing with the Toronto Raptors as an undrafted free agent out of Wichita State.

VanVleet quickly found a role as a backup point guard behind Kyle Lowry. His playmaking and defensive skills, as well as his ability to knock down three-pointers consistently, led to more playing time — and bigger contracts.

VanVleet secured a four-year, $85 million deal in 2020 with a player option for the fourth season and became the Raptors’ starting point guard the following year. He opted out this summer, turning down $22.8 million in hopes of a bigger payday.

That payday just came through: VanVleet signed a three-year, $130 million contract with the Houston Rockets that will pay him an average of $43.3 million per season. It’s the largest contract ever for an undrafted player.

Mark Blinch/Getty Images

This will be VanVleet’s first time playing for a U.S.-based team. He was a mainstay in Toronto, playing a significant role in the franchise’s 2019 championship. He also made the All-Star team during the 2021-22 season, just the fifth undrafted player to ever achieve such an honor.

Now, VanVleet joins a Houston team that’s in the process of rebuilding, which gives him a lot of leeway on the court. He’ll have the keys to the offense of the youngest team in the league. The current Rockets roster has an average age of just 22.5 years old.

For much of the past year, rumors swirled that star guard James Harden was looking to return to the Rockets, where he spent a little over eight seasons before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets. If he does end up coming back, the Harden/VanVleet duo would be an interesting combination — we’d certainly see a high volume of three-point shots.

Even if Harden doesn’t return, VanVleet should have no trouble contributing to the Rockets. Starting a career-high 69 games for the Raptors last season, VanVleet averaged 19.3 points and a career-best 7.2 assists while finishing fourth in the league with 123 total steals.

So, go ahead and roll the dice again, Fred. You’ve earned it.

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