In a slightly surprising move, the Los Angeles Lakers have extended Jarred Vanderbilt ahead of training camp opening next month.
According to multiple reports (and, really, Vanderbilt’s agency on the record), the deal is fully guaranteed for four years and $48 million, with a player option for the final season:
Los Angeles Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt has agreed on a four-year, $48 million contract extension with the franchise, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul and agent Erika Ruiz told @TheAthletic @Stadium. Deal is fully guaranteed with a player option in the fourth year. pic.twitter.com/4kuLlt8zeT— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 15, 2023
New story: Jarred Vanderbilt has agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract extension with LAL, sources told ESPN. He’s the 5th member of the Lakers’ WCF team to ink a multi-year extension. LAL was able to avoid negotiating w/ him as an UFA next summer https://t.co/lAoYxcTjNW— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 15, 2023
There are obviously a lot of basketball implications to this decision that we’ll get into shortly, but it’s also important to note that — as cap expert Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype points out — this does mean that Vanderbilt cannot be included in a trade this season as a result of the timing of the deal (players cannot be traded until six months after signing an extension, and the trade deadline this season is Feb. 8):
Jarred Vanderbilt can’t be traded for six months, which runs past the trade deadline. So the Lakers can’t trade him this season if they wanted to. https://t.co/gDhoVVczQj— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) September 15, 2023
The Lakers lock up Jarred Vanderbilt to a solid value deal. He became extension-eligible earlier last week.— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) September 15, 2023
Lakers now project to have 7 players earning ten figures next season.https://t.co/82ixkNVi5Q https://t.co/BwZKEB8Ks2
As for the reasons this is a bit surprising, that’s mainly because it’s not 100% clear what Vanderbilt’s role will be on this newly restructured team. Both he and the Lakers indicated all last season a desire to extend their partnership, but with Rui Hachimura likely taking Vanderbilt’s spot in the starting lineup and what kind of production he’ll be able to contribute in a bench role unclear, this extension is a bit of a gamble for both sides, as Vanderbilt may have been able to get more this summer if he outperforms, and Los Angeles might not have had to pay him as much if he didn’t.
For Vanderbilt, this price locks in a floor for the next four years after this one. The Lakers guaranteed his $4.6 million contract for this season over the summer, and for a player who has only earned approximately $12.2 million total in his five-year career to this point, guaranteeing himself roughly that much annually for the next four seasons after this one provides a nice bottom for his potential revenue.
For the Lakers, this extends a good, relatively young (Vanderbilt is 24 years old) defensive stopper who has shown he’s a hard worker and could very well outperform this contract if his work on his shot helps his percentages trend upward in that area.
Additionally, this also leaves both sides feeling secure going into the season, and lets Vanderbilt approach training camp locked in, ready to accept any role he’s given rather than feeling he has to go out there and fight for his next contract. As the salary cap continues to increase, the number on this extension will also appear increasingly paltry compared to other players getting paid in the coming years, too, so it should be completely movable if the Lakers decide they need an upgrade. And the player-option allows Vanderbilt to see what his market is in 2027, and opt-in if it’s less than he hopes.
All in all, this is probably a win-win move for both sides in this blogger’s humble opinion, but what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.