Why did Rockets go with Fred VanVleet over James Harden? Ime Udoka explains the reason

Back in July of 2023, Fred VanVleet signed a staggering $128.5 million max contract with the Houston Rockets. It was a bit of an unexpected trade given that Fred had a good season with the Raptors and had become a key player for them.

However, the trade went through, and he is now a point guard for the Rockets and is soon expected to become the squad’s leader. The more interesting thing was that the Rockets preferred to get VanVleet instead of their former MVP James Harden. Rockets head coach Ime Udoka explained the reason for the decision made by the Rockets.

Ime Udoka explains his Fred VanVleet to Rockets decision

The Rockets head coach Ime Udoka explained why the Houston based team chose to sign Fred VanVleet instead of their former star James Harden. Udoka reportedly said, “Nothing against James, but Fred is just a better fit. I had coached James in Brooklyn. He is one of the smartest players I have been around. If we want Jalen Green and the young guys to take the next steps, we need them to have ball!”

Udoka defended his team’s decision by emphasising Harden’s selfish playstyle. James Harden is a prolific scorer who like to have the ball for himself, the value he brings to the team demands the team to be formed around him. For a team, Harden has to be the number one priority while the others are second and third.

This is not the case with Fred VanVleet, he is more of a playmaker who moves the balls on the court. The passes and assists he provides are valuable for other players like Jaylen Green and Jabari to ascend to the next level.

What is Fred VanVleet contract with Rockets?

Fred VanVleet had signed a three-year deal with the Houston Rockets worth around $128.5 million. He is guaranteed an amount worth $83.6 million while around $42.8 million will be his annual average salary.

Fred VanVleet
Credits: getty images

VanVleet will earn a base salary of $40.8 million in the 2023-24 season which will be followed by a base salary of $42.8 million in the 2024-25 season. The contract restricts trading Fred before December 15 and also provides a team option in the 2025-26 season.

What do you think of Udoka’s explanation of signing Fred VanVleet over Harden? Do you think Fred will live up to the value of his contract? We are eager to know your thoughts, so drop down in the comments box and share with us.

Avi Shravan

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Avi Shravan is an anime, games and sports enthusiast who likes NBA and Soccer. He is an avid reader who loves to write as well. You can find him reading books in a cafe or playing games if he is not watching his favourite team play. You can contact him on [email protected]


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