NBA free agency: Kyrie Irving stays with Dallas Mavericks, Fred VanFleet heads to Houston Rockets


Fred VanFleet agrees three-year deal with the Houston Rockets that will pay him a reported $130m on the first night of the NBA free agency; Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, Khris Middleton and Kyle Kuzma all stay put

NBA free agency: Kyrie Irving stays with Dallas Mavericks, Fred VanFleet heads to Houston Rockets

On an opening night of NBA free agency where most big names – Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, Khris Middleton, Kyle Kuzma and more – stayed put, Fred VanVleet is headed to a new home with Houston Rockets.

VanFleet agreed to a three-year deal Friday with the Rockets that will pay him a reported $130m.

He famously uses the phrase “bet on yourself” to describe his career trajectory from undrafted player to NBA champion with the Toronto Raptors, and will now make about $525,000 per game over the next three seasons. That nearly matches what he made as a rookie in Toronto, total – about $550,000.

Irving and Luka Doncic are going to try again together in Dallas. Green is going to chase more championships with Stephen Curry in Golden State, just like Middleton is alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.

And Jerami Grant is staying put in Portland, for serious money. All those decisions came quickly Friday night as free agency in the NBA got off to its traditional fast and free-spending start – with roughly $1.5bn in deals getting struck in about the first three hours alone.

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The biggest deals, in terms of total value, had to wait until after midnight EDT – when the calendar flipped to July 1 for the start of a new league year.

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Irving agreed to a three-year, $126m deal to remain with the Mavericks, who acquired him in a splashy move in February but sputtered down the stretch and missed the playoffs, the deal taking quite possibly the biggest name in free agency off the board.

The Mavs had made clear that keeping Irving was their top priority – and got it done in the first hour of the NBA’s free agency window. They also signed Seth Curry, younger brother of Steph Curry.

Grant is getting $160m over the next five years, part of a plan that Portland hopes keeps Damian Lillard happy enough to not ask for a trade. Grant is staying put, as is Kuzma in Washington and Cam Johnson in Brooklyn.

NBA free agency: Kyrie Irving stays with Dallas Mavericks, Fred VanFleet heads to Houston Rockets

Kuzma essentially doubled his annual salary, agreeing to a $102m, four-year deal with the Wizards. Green got a new contract that’ll pay him $100m over four seasons with the Warriors.

Green staying put keeps him alongside Curry and Klay Thompson with the Warriors, where they have won four titles over the last decade. He opted out of a $27.6m contract for this coming season and now is under contract for more years.

Middleton also traded bigger salary in the short term for more years. He could have made $40m this coming season; instead, he agreed to $102m over three years to stay with Antetokounmpo and a Bucks team that’s only two years removed from an NBA championship.


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