The Los Angeles Lakers and forward Jarred Vanderbilt have come to an agreement on a four-year, $48 million contract extension. Vanderbilt will have a player option in the fourth and final year of the deal.
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) September 15, 2023
Vanderbilt was selected with the No. 41 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft after one season playing college basketball at the University of Kentucky. He stuffed the stat sheet in his one season as a Wildcat, as he averaged 5.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 0.8 blocks per game in 14 games played during the 2017-18 season (zero starts).
The 2017-18 iteration of Kentucky basketball finished the season with an impressive 26-11 record and made it all the way to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 before losing to Kansas State University by a final score of 61-58. P.J. Washington finished with a team-high 18 points in the loss and converted five of his seven field-goal attempts.
Vanderbilt, 24, has played for four teams — the Lakers, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets — across his five seasons in the NBA. He averaged 7.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game across 26 games played with the storied Lakers franchise during the 2022-23 regular season (24 starts).
The Lakers acquired Vanderbilt in a three-team trade back in February of 2023 that also landed the team point guard D’Angelo Russell and shooting guard Malik Beasley.
Vanderbilt didn’t carry over his solid play from the 2022-23 regular season into the 2023 postseason, though. His numbers took a dip across the board compared to his regular-season stats with the Lakers, as he averaged 4.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.8 blocks per game in 15 playoff games.
The 6-foot-8 forward didn’t receive the playing time needed to replicate his regular-season numbers during the postseason, however. He averaged just 16.5 minutes per contest during the playoffs, a far cry from his regular-season average of 24.0 minutes with the Lakers.
Despite Vanderbilt’s forgettable postseason stint, his contract extension projects to age well for the Lakers. After all, he has established himself as one of the top wing defenders in the NBA today, and at just 24 years old, he likely still has his best basketball ahead of him.