The Denver Nuggets announced today that they had signed the 41st pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Jarred Vanderbilt, to a multi-year contract.

The attached article doesn’t go into specifics, but here are some contract details from some people who would know:

Siegel also goes on to clarify that the Nuggets could use the non-taxpayer mid-level if the get back under the tax – it doesn’t have to be declared yet.

Salary cap minutiae aside, what does all this mean? A few things, really:

  • Denver was able to get the third year on Vanderbilt’s deal without paying a lot for it. This was a three-year minimum deal, and while we’re assuming it’s guaranteed it is next to nothing to have to guarantee. Since Vanderbilt may miss the whole season resting and rehabilitating his foot and working on his standing shot, it’s good to get a pair of years after that in order to fully assess Vanderbilt before having to pay his free agent salary. This works for both sides – it’s easier for Vanderbilt to convince people to give him a larger deal in three years with a bigger and better body of work to be judged on.
  • There are more roster changes coming. This move along with the Torrey Craig signing locks up the 15-man spots so unless Monte Morris is somehow going to be Denver’s backup PG for only half the year on a two-way contract, the Nuggets have some kind of plan for easing the roster crunch and giving full-time NBA positions to everyone who is expected to get minutes. They could stretch Darrell Arthur if push came to shove, or even move their problem into the beginning of the season by letting Morris play the first month on a two-way deal while they look for the best deal, but there is definitely a plan – this forces it.
  • I’m very excited. This might not be as important as the first two, but the last thing Denver needs is to rehab and develop a player like Vanderbilt only to take the chance of losing him 2 summers from now. The third year is good, I expect Vanderbilt (if healthy) to be quite good, and I’m glad that Denver is taking its draft day investments seriously. Michael Porter Jr and Jarred Vanderbilt could be game-changers.

But let’s take things one step at a time. The “locking up the draft picks” step has been accomplished. Now about that roster configuration…

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