Lakers Officially Sign Jarred Vanderbilt To Four-Year Contract Extension
Jarred Vanderbilt, Lakers
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have officially agreed to a four-year contract extension with forward Jarred Vanderbilt. The deal will kick in starting with the 2024-25 season and is fully guaranteed with a player option for the final year, according to various reports.

The Lakers acquired Vanderbilt at last season’s trade deadline as part of the three-team deal that sent out point guard Russell Westbrook. Vanderbilt came to L.A. along with point guard D’Angelo Russell and shooting guard Malik Beasley in the trade and the forward quickly established himself as a key part of the rotation.

Known for his defensive prowess as one of the best and most versatile perimeter defenders in the NBA, Vanderbilt joined the starting lineup and became a catalyst for the Lakers’ turnaround down the stretch of the season. He appeared in 26 games for the Lakers during the season, starting 24, and averaged 7.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals.

But the numbers never tell the full story when it comes to Vanderbilt as his defensive ability was exactly what the team needed. Vanderbilt took on the role of defensive stopper, guarding the opposition’s top perimeter player every night, be it a bigger wing or a quick point guard. His 15-point, 17-rebound and four steal performance in the Lakers’ massive comeback win over Dallas in February gave a glimpse of what he would bring and that would carry forward.

Even though his offensive struggles were exacerbated in the playoffs, Vanderbilt still played a huge role defensively throughout the postseason and the defensive side of the ball was the reason the Lakers made the Western Conference Finals. Vanderbilt was a primary defender on point guards Ja Morant and Stephen Curry in the first two rounds of the playoffs and did an excellent job of making life difficult on the two All-Stars.

Exactly what his role will be on this year’s team is unclear as he is expected to battle with Rui Hachimura for the starting frontcourt spot next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Vanderbilt will undoubtedly have a spot in the Lakers rotation as a defensive stopper.

Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura workout with Lakers assistant Phil Handy in Greece

Vanderbilt has been working hard this offseason, spending time with Lakers assistant Phil Handy in camps around the world. Both he and the player he is fighting with for a starting spot in Hachimura were with Handy in Greece at a basketball camp.

Where Vanderbilt needs to improve is no secret and the forward is working hard to fix the holes in his game and become an even better contributor for the Lakers.

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