Houston Rockets guard Fred VanVleet had a tough free agency decision this past offseason to leave the Toronto Raptors and sign with Houston, and he recently explained one of the factors that led him to make that choice, via The Woj Pod.
"It was just a time where it's like, 'Okay, it's starting to go around Scottie [Barnes]… my value there wasn't probably as great as it was in Houston."
Fred VanVleet on leaving the Raptors and signing with the Rockets this summer 🗣
(via "The Woj Pod") pic.twitter.com/jS4Fcpl23v
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 4, 2023
Fred VanVleet on his new start with the Rockets
Fred VanVleet signed with the Rockets this offseason on a 3-year deal worth $128 million in free agency, in a move that surprised many around the league. The Raptors likely didn't want to financially compete with that type of deal, and the decision by VanVleet to take over a young Rockets squad appears to be paying off early on.
The Rockets are currently hovering around .500 but have shown massive improvements from last season, thanks in large part to VanVleet's play and leadership. Houston is 5th in defensive efficiency so far this season, something VanVleet has been renowned for throughout his career.
The Raptors, meanwhile, are hovering around the .500 mark as well early on. Toronto has put the ball in the hands of Scottie Barnes much more with Fred VanVleet in Houston, and Barnes has responded well to the extra responsibilities, leading the Raptors in assists while averaging nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds a night. Despite winning a championship with the Raptors, it seems like VanVleet realized the writing was on the wall and he would no longer be the primary facilitator in Toronto moving forward.
It seems like VanVleet leaving in free agency may have been the best for all parties involved, but there is still a lot of season left to play for both teams.