3. Fred VanVleet
Houston needed a point guard to organize their offense and lead by example. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. are talented scorers, but neither is a true primary ball-handler. James Harden was mentioned heavily in the rumor mill, but the Rockets opted for VanVleet in free agency because he brings more defense and less baggage to Houston.
VanVleet signed a three-year $128.5 million contract this summer that is set to pay him $40.8 million next season. FVV is the 14th-highest-paid player in 2024, and the third-highest-paid point guard behind only Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard. VanVleet will make more than Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Kyrie Irving, Ja Morant, and the rest of the league’s lead distributors.
The Rockets need him to be an All-Star and to push the team to new heights. Toronto missed the playoffs last season with FVV as their point guard and a roster primed for contention. To think he will come to Space City and help them win 20 more games seems like a stretch.
Without a massive improvement, the Houston Rockets will regret giving Fred VanVleet the max salary even if the deal only lasts for two years. He will be productive, but being in contention is the key to this contract getting viewed as a positive.