Lakers Announce Signing of Athletic Forward to Multi-Year Contract

rob pelinka

Getty Los Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

The season is lost so it’s time for the Los Angeles Lakers to start looking to the future. Unfortunately, the future doesn’t look particularly bright now. The team bet on aging veterans this season and lost. Luckily, there are a few salvageable pieces the Lakers found.

Stanely Johnson figures to be part of the equation next season thanks to his ability on defense. The team recently decided to waive Trevor Ariza so that they could sign a younger player before the season ended. Instead of bringing in a fresh face, the Lakers decided to give a contract to somebody already in the building. The team announced that they’ve signed forward Wenyen Gabriel to a standard NBA contract.

Gabriel was on a two-way contract so now he’s officially on the roster. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, he signed a two-year contract with a team option for the 2022-2023 season.

This essentially means that the Lakers have locked him up for this season and can choose to keep him next season. If they decided to go in a different direction, they can just decline his option and he’ll be a free agent again.

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Does Gabriel Have a Chance to Make Next Season’s Roster?

In the grand scheme of things, this new contract for Gabriel doesn’t mean too much. However, it’s a good sign for him. This means that the Lakers like him enough to give him a chance. He’s impressed the team since joining them in March with his athleticism and defensive effort. Though he was on a two-way deal, the Lakers mostly kept him on the NBA roster.

The team doesn’t have great roster flexibility this offseason with Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James eating up most of the salary cap space. Gabriel could have a real shot to make the team when the regular season starts. The Lakers tried going old this season and it blew up in their face. Giving a younger player like Gabriel a chance to succeed is a much better bet heading into next season.


Gabriel Preached Positivity When First Joining Lakers

It’s far from a guarantee that the Lakers will pick up Gabriel’s option. Regardless of what happens, he’s not the type of player to get down on himself. When he first signed with the Lakers, he made sure to preach having a positive attitude.

“Doubt comes in and out all the time throughout your whole journey,” Gabriel told reporters during his introductory press conference in March. “But it’s how you respond to it. It’s just a feeling. It’s just a thought … but keep good energy, stay positive, and make sure you’re doing the work every day and keep building. That builds your confidence, and the doubt slowly starts going away.”

There were a lot of times during this season that the Lakers could’ve used a more positive attitude. It didn’t take a body language expert to tell that the team was miserable. Bringing a hard-working and positive mindset to the team could really help Gabriel’s chances of sticking around.

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