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When the Utah Jazz traded Jarred Vanderbilt to the Los Angeles Lakers at the 2023 NBA trade deadline, it seemed like the Jarred Vanderbilt contract was more important than the player himself. However, just five games into his Lakers career, Vanderbilt is not only proving himself a valuable player with his incredibly affordable contact, but he’s a great value, too.

The Jarred Vanderbilt contract

Jarred Vanderbilt contract, Jarred Vanderbilt, Los Angeles Lakers
Jarred Vanderbilt | Amanda Loman/Getty Images

Until he moved to LA, Jarred Vanderbilt was not a household name.

The Houston native spent one year at Kentucky before heading to the 2018 NBA Draft. That year, the Orlando Magic took the 6-foot-9 forward with the 11th pick in the second round and traded him to the Denver Nuggets.

The first Jared Vanderbilt contract was a three-year, $3.9 million deal with the Nuggets.

Vanderbilt bounced between the NBA and G League in his first two seasons before the Nuggets traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a four-team trade. The young forward found his footing in Minnesota but was traded to the Utah Jazz as part of the Rudy Gobert deal.

Before the trade to Utah, the team gave its young wing a new Jarred Vanderbilt contract. It was a three-year, $13,122,000 pact with $13,122,000 guaranteed and an annual average value (AAV) of $4,374,000.

In the 2022-23 season, Vanderbilt is earning $4,320,000 in base salary with $54,000 in likely incentives and $135,000 in unlikely incentives.

This salary makes Vanderbilt the 230th-highest-paid player in the NBA, and since he got to LA, he’s outplayed that designation by a lot.

Vanderbilt is helping the Lakers make a playoff push

The Jarret Vanderbilt contract, which keeps him under team control through the 2023-24 season, is great, especially if he continues to play like he has in his first five games for the Lakers.

In Vanderbilt’s first four games with the Lakers, he’s averaging 21.3 minutes per game, 7.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. He was -6 and -29 on the floor in his first two games but rebounded in the next two, putting up +10 and +16 stat lines.

The Lakers went 3-1 in those four games, too.

Vanderbilt saved his best for his fifth game against the Dallas Mavericks. The team went down by 27 (a lead that NBA teams were 138-0 with this season) but stormed back and won the game 111-108.

In the stunning comeback, Vanderbilt was a key piece, especially with his defense. The 23-year-old finished with 15 points, 17 rebounds, and four steals. He also had a career-high eight offensive boards.

Most importantly, though, he held Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic 2-of-7 shooting from the field as the primary defender on the point-forward.

If Vanderbilt keeps playing like this and the Lakers keep winning, he will be the steal of the NBA trade deadline, and the Jarred Vanderbilt contract may be the best value in the league.


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