Unsettling Gabe Vincent injury update cements his status as a Lakers bust

Oct 9, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) speaks with guard
Oct 9, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) speaks with guard / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers put together one of the better offseasons in the NBA in 2023. Tasked with retaining the core that led the team to the Western Conference Finals, Rob Pelinka was able to maintain continuity in LA while also making smart additions to the rotation.

The biggest external signing that the team made might have been the worst signing of them all, though. Fresh off of a run to the NBA Finals, the Lakers signed Gabe Vincent to a three-year, $33 million contract. Vincent didn't take up all of the Mid-Level Exception, but he took a big portion of it.

At the time, we warned Lakers fans from getting too excited about this deal as there were legitimate warning signs around Vincent's game. Now, less than six months into his tenure as a Laker, it is clear that the Vincent signing might be panning out just like the Kendrick Nunn signing.

Gabe Vincent injury update proves he is a flop signing for the Lakers

All signs were pointing to Vincent returning to action before the turn of the calendar year and this is an unexpected setback for the guard. Nothing is yet official, but it cannot be a good sign that Vincent is considering surgery on the knee injury that has limited him to four games.

Let's say that Vincent does get this surgery and he recovers on the quickest timeline possible. If he were to get the surgery the day after Christmas then he would be able to return on February 8 against the Denver Nuggets. That is the 53rd game of the season for the Lake Show.

But that is assuming that all goes perfectly well. If Vincent returns after the eight-day timeline then he would come back on February 22 against the Golden State Warriors, which is the 57th game of the season. With how Vincent's recovery has gone thus far this season it is not crazy to assume that he would be out until March with this injury.

That would give Vincent about a month to get acclimated in the Lakers' rotation. That simply is not enough time. Darvin Ham is already struggling with the Lakers' rotation as is, the odds of him figuring out exactly how to use Vincent in a month is slim. Plus, that is not enough time for Vincent to really get comfortable in playing with LeBron James.

Injuries like this are fluky and there is no way that the Lakers could have expected that this would happen. However, if the team simply did not overpay a not-that-great role player because of one playoff run then the team would have never gotten in this mess to begin with.

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