3. Lakers must sign Jarred Vanderbilt to an extension
Los Angeles rebuilt the roster at the 2023 trade deadline and brought that same core back while making savvy additions. Even D’Angelo Russell was brought back after his horrible Western Conference Finals, signaling that the team wants to give this core one last look and chance to win it all.
Some of the players of this core should be locked-in long-term. The team already did that with Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura and would be foolish to not do it with Jarred Vanderbilt, who is a free agent after the season.
Vanderbilt and his agents may want to wait until next summer to discuss any deals as he would be able to go to the open market and sign with the highest bidder. Los Angeles should look to avoid that at all costs and offer him a fair market price now that locks him.
Pinpointing Vanderbilt’s value is tough because he is a solid defensive player but he does not offer much on the offensive end. That naturally is not going to get much in free agency but Vanderbilt’s skill set translates very well to the NBA Playoffs. So how much should LA value him?
Matisse Thybulle signed a three-year, $33 million contract this offseason and that helps establish the price for Vando. Like Vando, Thybulle is great on the defensive end but does not offer much offensively. Thybulle is one of the best defenders in the league, though, and Vanderbilt isn’t quite to that level.
That being said, something in the ballpark of a three-year, $27 million contract is probably a fair value for Vanderbilt. If the team was able to convince him to sign that kind of extension now it would be a massive win.