Coming off their championship victory in the first NBA in-Season Tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers may get a reinforcement to their lineup with a date reportedly in mind for the return of injured guard Gabe Vincent.
“Guard Gabe Vincent is hopeful for a return as soon as Dec. 18 for the Lakers’ home game against the [New York] Knicks, according to league sources,” wrote Shams Charania of The Athletic. “Vincent has been limited to just four games this season because of rehabilitation from left knee effusion. He last played on Oct. 30.”
The 27-year-old was a key offseason acquisition for Los Angeles, signing as a free agent after playing for the Miami Heat. In the four games he’s been able to appear in this season, he’s averaging just 6.0 points and 3.0 assists per contest.
The Lakers have been able to weather his lengthy absence so far with a 14-9 record that leads the Pacific Division and are fifth in the Western Conference. They rolled through the inaugural In-Season Tournament, culminating with a 123-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers in the title game on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
The payoff for winning that title was especially significant financially for some of the Lakers on two-way contracts. In part because of injuries to Vincent, Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt, Los Angeles has used 17 players so far this season.
The ultimate return of Vincent to the backcourt will require yet another adjustment to the rotation. He has received platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment as part of his recovery from the knee injury.
The former undrafted free agent was a significant contributor for the Heat last season as they made their way to the 2023 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Denver Nuggets.
The Lakers also lost to the Nuggets in the playoffs, falling to them in the 2023 Western Conference Finals. Vincent was brought in this offseason along with Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince, Jaxson Hayes and Christian Wood in an attempt to bring another NBA title to L.A.
It will be interesting to see if winning the In-Season Tournament creates some more positive momentum for the Lakers or if there is something of a letdown before they are able to add Vincent back to the so far successful equation.