Sources: The Lakers and G League MVP and summer league guard Vander Blue have agreed on a partially guaranteed deal.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 29, 2017
Blue wore the blue and gold for three seasons before passing on his final year of eligibility in the summer of 2013. He’s been playing pro hoops ever since, and after a whirlwind world tour of teams and countries in that first season and a brief cup of coffee with the Lakers at the end of the following season, Blue has been playing in the NBA G-League ever since.
He’s been really great for the LA D-Fenders, now renamed the South Bay Lakers, getting to the point where he won the 2016-17 G-League MVP. However, Blue has been in the G-League for so long that he’s now just barely over 1,000 points away from becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer.
As Cracked Sidewalks pointed out a few months back, Blue has kind of turned into the G-League’s version of Crash Davis in the movie Bull Durham. Hooray for you for approaching an all time minor league record, but, y’know, it’s still a minor league record.
But now he’ll join the Lakers for training camp, which is a step towards being on an NBA roster for the first time since the end of the 2014-15 season. This isn’t a two-way contract, which would allow Los Angeles to move Blue back and forth between the NBA and the G-League and pay him the pro-rated minimum salary for whichever club he was with on a particular day. Instead, Blue will likely get paid some portion of the rookie minimum (he’s only appeared in five NBA games, so he’s still technically a rookie), which is roughly $1 million, as long as he remains with the Lakers, with some of that money guaranteed if they end up releasing him before he would reach that amount. That guarantee is probably in the six figure territory, which means it’s a huge boon to Blue, as the G-League maximum has only now been raised to $26,000 per season.
The NBA does have a point in the season where all contracts do become guaranteed for the full season. Blue would have to make it through training camp with the Lakers and manage to stay on their roster until that point, and even then, they still might release him just to avoid paying the rest of the contract. We’ll see what happens, though. Hopefully he can impress the LA brass, including head coach Luke Walton, enough to earn a spot with the club for at least part of the regular season.
For more on Blue and the Lakers as the summer rolls on, be sure to visit Silver Screen & Roll, our Lakers-centric SB Nation sister site.