When the Lakers signed Gabe Vincent to a three-year contract worth a cumulative payout of $33 million, the move was met with massive praise from the NBA world. Pundits pegged him as the type of point guard that would theoretically thrive as a catch-and-shoot, secondary playmaking dual threat beside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. His IQ on the defensive end also breeded loads of excitement, and it was primarily assumed that Los Angeles had hit the jackpot with his signing.
Now that the calendar has flipped to 2024, so too has the positive outlook on Vincent's place in LA. After a horrendous opening quartet of contests to begin the regular season, the backup floor general sustained a knee injury which would subsequently sideline him for the team's next 23 games.
After finally returning to action during the team's game against the Bulls on December 20th in Chicago, Vincent again found himself hampered by the same lingering ailment. Just a few days later, the team announced that he would be undergoing surgery to repair the damage. His new timeline for return is roughly 2 months.
It has been a highly disappointing start to his tenure as a Laker, even to the point that many have already begun to ponder who else they could have landed in lieu of Vincent. It may be painful for the fanbase, but it is not the first time the purple and gold have endured such negative results after investing in a talented guard from the Miami Heat.
Gabe Vincent is Kendrick Nunn all over again for the Lakers
Prior to the 2021-2022 season, the front office threw the taxpayer's mid-level exception at smooth-scoring guard Kendrick Nunn. The undersized combo guard was fresh off of his first two NBA seasons with the Heat, and he had quickly established himself as a legitimate scoring threat.
Unfortunately, Nunn missed the entire duration of the ensuing season while recovering from a bone bruise in his knee. That injury, which is still a bit puzzling in hindsight, was never expected to keep him off of the floor for an extended period of time.
As the game count rose that season, the questions surrounding Nunn's availability spiked simultaneously. As we press on into 2024, those same question marks affiliated with his predecessor's health have now resurfaced with Vincent.
Kendrick Nunn did return to the floor prior to the start of last season, but it was very evident that his pairing with the Lakers was just never meant to be. Right around this time a year ago, he was shipped out to Washington along with 3 second-round picks in exchange for Rui Hachimura.
Seeing how Rob Pelinka and the front office have been through similar circumstances, one could imagine that they will have much less patience with Vincent than they did for Nunn. Let's hope that Gabe's future fate is not as daunting as Nunn's.