Title: Rockets Ignite Controversy with Lavish Spending in Free Agent Market, Lakers, Bucks, Kings Follow Suit
The frenzy of the free agent signing market continues to grip the basketball world as teams scramble to secure key additions to their rosters. In this second day of signings, the actions of the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Sacramento Kings have attracted attention and sparked debates among fans and experts alike.
The Rockets have been making waves with their extravagant spending, raising eyebrows and generating controversy. On the first day of signings, they sealed a deal with coveted player Fred VanVleet, offering him a three-year maximum salary contract worth $130 million. Initially seen as a risky move, the contract’s structure—with the third year being a team option—now appears more reasonable.
Another signing that raised eyebrows was Christian Wood, who secured a four-year, $32 million contract as a backup center. While the deal seemed costly for a reserve player, reports suggest that only the first year of the contract is fully guaranteed. This unique structure demonstrates the Rockets’ ability to persuade players to sign team-friendly contracts.
However, the Rockets’ decision to sign Dillon Brooks to a fully guaranteed four-year, $80 million contract with no options has raised serious concerns. Given that the Spurs were the only other team with significant salary space, critics argue that there was no need for the Rockets to offer such a lucrative deal. To acquire Brooks, the Rockets even had to trade away four promising rookies. CBS Sports went as far as describing this move as a “bidding war between the Rockets and themselves,” highlighting the exorbitant price paid for a player with limited market demand.
In total, the Rockets spent a staggering $210 million on the signings of VanVleet and Brooks. Statistically, both players have shooting percentages below 40% from the field, which raises questions about whether the Rockets made wise investments in terms of on-court production.
Meanwhile, the Lakers, Bucks, and Kings have adopted a similar strategy in maintaining the core lineup from last season. The Lakers extended Rui Hachimura’s contract for three years and $51 million, along with a two-year, $37 million deal for D’Angelo Russell and a four-year, $56 million contract to retain Austin Reaves.
The Bucks secured key players such as Khris Middleton for three years and $102 million and Brook Lopez for two years and $48 million, ensuring continuity within their roster. The Kings, on the other hand, renewed Harrison Barnes’ contract for three years and $54 million, and kept Trey Lyles for two years at $16 million. Additionally, they signed Domantas Sabonis Jr. to an advanced extension worth an impressive $217 million over five years.
While these teams share a common strategy of retaining their core players, the reasons and implications behind their moves differ. For the Lakers, their contracts present opportunities for future trades, enabling them to strengthen their roster. The Bucks’ deals are seen as reasonable, considering injury risks and the age of some players. The Kings’ decision to preserve salary space during this period remains a subject of disappointment for some fans.
In a separate development, the New York Knicks’ signings were also influenced by personal relationships. Acting as a cohesive family under the leadership of Leon Rose, the Knicks signed Donte DiVincenzo for $50 million over four years. DiVincenzo’s connection to the Knicks can be attributed to his past collegiate association with Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart, who both played with him at Villanova University. This signing reflects Knicks coach Thibodeau’s appreciation for the toughness exhibited by Villanova players. Additionally, the Knicks acquired Obi Toppin, the No. 8 pick, with hopes that he will thrive in New York after being undervalued by his previous team, the Indiana Pacers.
As the free agent market unfolds, observers remain captivated by the whirlwind of signings, analyzing each team’s strategies, and predicting the impact these moves will have on the upcoming NBA season.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official stance of Sohu.