DENVER (247 SPORTS) – The Denver Nuggets have signed former Kentucky forward Jarred Vanderbilt to a multi-year contract, the club announced Wednesday.

The terms of the agreement were not officially disclosed, but according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the deal was for $4 million over three years.

Vanderbilt was originally selected by the Orlando Magic with the No. 41 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft in Brooklyn on June 21 but was acquired by the Nuggets in exchange for Justin Jackson, the No. 43 overall pick, and and a future second round selection.

Denver Nuggets draft pick, Jarred Vanderbilt, is introduced during a press conference on June 22, 2018 at the Pepsi Center. (credit: Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The versatile 6-foot-9 forward missed Kentucky’s first 17 games of the season after suffering a foot injury in late September. He then missed all six of the Wildcats’ postseason games with another foot injury sustained in practice during the lead-up to the SEC Tournament in St. Louis.

But during his brief 14-game Kentucky career, Vanderbilt was a force of nature on the glass, averaging 5.9 points and a team-high 7.9 rebounds. He snatched double-digit rebounds in five of 14 games, including a career-best 15 vs. Missouri on Feb. 24 in his best game as a Wildcat, in which he also tied a career-high with 11 points.

“I will tell you, his analytics, all those teams looking at analytics stuff, those [14] games, were off the charts,” Calipari said. “NBA motor, goes after balls, quick twitch, can pass it, can bounce it. Numbers, pro spirit, pro energy, NBA body all that stuff.”

His 18.6 rebounds per 40 minutes average is higher than any Wildcat in the Calipari Era and his total rebound percentage of 25.7 was higher than potential No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton of Arizona (21.4) as well as Texas’ Mohamed Bamba (20.2), UNLV’s Brandon McCoy (19.5) and Texas A&M’s Robert Williams (18.9).

Former AAU travel teammate, former Wildcat and Sacramento Kings rookie guard De’Aaron Fox called Vanderbilt “the best rebounder I’ve ever seen.”

The status of Vanderbilt’s health has been shrouded in mystery since suffering an ankle injury during practice in the lead up to the SEC Tournament on Mar. 6, the latest of several lower leg injuries he’s suffered in recent years. Although he was officially listed as day-to-day, Vanderbilt missed all six of Kentucky’s postseason games.

He was then invited to the 2018 NBA Draft Combine in Chicago but did not attend due to injury and after the draft, was seen with a walking boot on his right foot. He has not participated on Denver’s 2018 NBA Summer League team in Las Vegas.

The Nuggets also drafted Michael Porter of Missouri with the No. 14 pick, Rodions Kurucs of Latvia (No. 40) and UCLA 7-footer Thomas Welsh (No. 58). Vanderbilt joins fellow former Wildcats Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles on a Denver team that finished 46-36 and missed the playoffs by one game with a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on the final day of the regular season.

Denver also resigned big man Nikola Jokic to a five-year max deal worth $148 million.


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