After an injury-riddled season, Kentucky forward Jarred Vanderbilt made the surprise decision to declare for the NBA Draft. Vanderbilt, appearing in just 15 games as a freshman for the Wildcats, didn’t receive any first-round hype and barely heard whispers of being selected in the second round.
The Orlando Magic, though, saw Vanderbilt’s potential and took flyer on him by drafting the young forward. However, he was traded moments later to the Denver Nuggets.
In the end, Vanderbilt made a great decision for himself and his family, as his first contract will set him up nicely for the foreseeable future.
Per Spotrac, Vanderbilt’s contract is four years, $5.9 million. In his first year, he’ll make a guaranteed $838,464 followed by a guaranteed second year of $1,416,852.
His third year, however, is a non-guaranteed $1,663,861. The fourth and final year of his deal, if he & the team don’t come to an agreement on an extension, will be a qualifying offer of $2,079,826 before he hits restricted free agency in 2021.
Vanderbilt landing in Denver was just as surprising as the pick itself, as they have a loaded front court. Vanderbilt joins former Wildcat Trey Lyles and Tyler Lydon as young, versatile power forwards in their rotation behind starter Paul Millsap.
At center, the Nuggets have starter Nikola Jokic with Mason Plumlee and Thomas Welsh behind him.
Of the seven players, Vanderbilt has seen the least amount of time on the hardwood and will have quite the task ahead of him making his way up a talented depth chart.
Vanderbilt does give Denver, a team with a soon-to-be expensive cap sheet, a cheap option down the road if they have to move on from players like Lyles, Lydon & Plumlee.
Don’t hold your breathe to see Vanderbilt on the floor this year, but don’t be surprised if he’s there for longer than most expect.