Rockets prioritize Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks in free agency

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers - Game 6

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers – Game 6

No team enters free agency with more money to spend than the Rockets — nearly $60 million in cap space. Houston hasn’t been subtle about its intentions to add veterans to their young core – the hunt for big names including James Harden (who, by most accounts, is now leaning towards a return to Philadelphia ).

If Harden isn’t on the table, the Rockets turn their attention to two other guards, Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, reports Marc Stein in his latest Substack newsletter .

Increasingly as the official start of free agency nears Friday at 6 p.m. ET, league sources say they see Toronto’s Fred VanVleet and Memphis’ Dillon Brooks high on a Rockets wishlist widely seen as being headlined by former Rockets All-Star James Harden.

Stein adds that the Rockets could both land.

VanVleet is one of the most wanted free agents on the market , a rock-solid head guard who averaged 19.3 points and 7.2 assists per game last season. He’s also a bigger defender — something the Rockets need — and he brings the seriousness of a championship ring to the room. Because of all that, it will cost a lot – four years, $130 million (from around $30 million per season). It will take a big offer to land VanVleet as other teams, like Toronto and Orlando, will be in the game (including trying to pitch the Raptors on a sign-and-trade).

Brooks would also bring needed defense to Houston — he was second-team All-Defense last season. However, his attack is much more erratic and the key will be getting him to accept his role in the attack. Milwaukee is also said to have some interest in Brooks. Brooks’ salary floor is the mid-level exception ($12.4 million for the first season), which means Houston can afford him and VanVleet (as long as there’s no Harden pictured).

Whether they land those two free agents or hunt someone else, expect the Rockets to swing big starting Friday night (6 p.m. EST) when they officially open free agency.

Leave a Comment