2. Jarred Vanderbilt, Los Angeles Lakers
After signing Rui Hachimura to a sizeable three-year, $51 million deal, it’s clear to see the Lakers have committed to the promising Japanese forward for the long-haul. This couldn’t be worse news for Jarred Vanderbilt, who was by all accounts making a name for himself on the Lakers as the starting power forward.
It remains unclear whether Rui or Vando will get the starting nod next season, but it will be difficult for the Lakers to justify such a large payday to Hachimura just to sit on the bench — especially when Vanderbilt is on an expiring deal for less than $5 million, and will be looking for his own extension soon. This confusion has left many fans wondering if Vanderbilt’s time in Los Angeles could be coming to a close, as he’d be a valuable trade asset to help balance out the roster.
Jarred Vanderbilt is the exact archetype of player the Chicago Bulls are sorely missing.
Ironically, there’s a vocal contingent of the Lakers’ fanbase that wants LA to trade Vanderbilt for the aforementioned Wood to boost up their offense. While a few fans are hardly a credible insight to the minds of the Lakers’ front office, it does at least prove Vanderbilt isn’t viewed as an untouchable asset to this team.
Although Vando may not have the offensive arsenal of a player like Wood, that isn’t what the Bulls are looking for right now. They have Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic for that. Vanderbilt is the type of player to get down and dirty fighting for boards and playing stifling defense. As it turns out, that’s exactly the type of player the Bulls need.