Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt spoke out about being traded two times by Tim Connelly who was in the front office when he was in Denver and Minnesota.
Connelly traded Vanderbilt during the 2019-20 season to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Similarly, when Connelly took over in Minnesota’s front office following the 2021-22 season, he moved Vanderbilt again – this time to the Utah Jazz in the deal that sent Rudy Gobert to the Timberwolves.
“I thought for sure we were going to at least run it back at least once, but at that time…we had a new president/GM, same one that came from Denver,” Vanderbilt said. “So he actually traded me both times. He traded me to Minnesota, then he got to Minnesota, traded me again. I’m like, ‘Damn.'”
While it may seem like Connelly wasn’t a huge fan of Vanderbilt, he clearly was more interested in Gobert – a former Defensive Player of the Year – and needed to give up the necessary role players and draft picks to make a deal happen.
Things ended up working out for Vanderbilt last season, as he was traded again at the trade deadline in a three-team deal that sent him to the Lakers.
With the Lakers, Vanderbilt was an important part of the team’s eventual playoff run to the Western Conference Finals. While he didn’t get to run things back in Minnesota, he still was able to have a great playoff experience.
Now, Vanderbilt has a chance to help the Lakers build on last season’s success in the 2023-24 campaign.
After being dealt to Los Angeles, Vanderbilt appeared in 26 games in the regular season and made 24 starts. He averaged 7.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from beyond the arc.
A University of Kentucky product, Vanderbilt has carved out a nice role for himself in the NBA despite not being the best 3-point shooter (career 28.8 percent shooter from deep).
He’s a terrific defender that can guard multiple positions, and the Lakers actually used him to guard Stephen Curry during the playoffs last season.
While Connelly may have looked at Vanderbilt as expendable, the Lakers are certainly happy to have his skill set on the roster for the 2023-24 season.