Lakers’ $33 Million Signing a ‘Seamless Fit’ With LeBron James, Says Analyst

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers were productive this offseason.

General manager Rob Pelinka has received platitudes for the work he’s done to undo his previous dealings, taking the Lakers from a sinking ship to the Western Conference Finals last season. He continued that approach this offseason, luring point guard Gabe Vincent away from the Miami Heat in free agency.

“Gabe Vincent may not be the most talented player the Lakers added this summer,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on August 20. “On paper, Vincent looks like a seamless fit with LeBron James.”

He signed a three-year, $33 million contract to come to L.A. this summer. His short track record brought some scrutiny to his signing, though,

“Vincent for the full mid-level exception is probably a fine bit of business,” wrote Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report on August 2. “But he isn’t likely to start in L.A. And his career numbers suggest that postseason run may be an outlier.”

Vincent shot 33.4% from deep last season. But he shot 37.8% in the postseason and shot 36.8% during the 2021-22 regular season.

“Vincent, meanwhile, already has 44 playoff games under his belt and just played a pivotal … role in the Miami Heat’s climb from the play-in tournament to the championship round,” Buckley continued. “Provided Vincent’s outside shooting holds up … he could absolutely swipe the starting point guard gig away from D’Angelo Russell.”

Gabe Vincent Won Over Heat Teammates Before Last Season

Vincent broke out last season. But he did not come from out of nowhere; not to his teammates and coaches in Miami, at least.

Former teammate Bam Adebayo also knew Vincent was legitimate well before last year.

“Man, when he torched us in the Olympics in the exhibition game against Nigeria,” Adebayo said via the NBA on June 4. “He came out with that type of energy, that type of ferocity, and that anger. I feel like from there, I was like, ‘He’s one of us.’”

“People severely overestimate what you can get accomplished in a day and they grossly underestimate what you can accomplish in a matter of months, years when nobody’s watching,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said via Miami’s X/Twitter feed on June 4. “I think he’s the epitome of that.”

The Lakers surely hope that he can replicate that impact with them next season, be it in the starting lineup or coming off the bench.

Buckley previously predicted that Vincent would ultimately usurp Russell in the starting lineup.

D’Angelo Russell Focused on Winning

Russell has far more starting experience than Vincent. But he does not sound as though he plans to cause a fuss if head coach Darvin Ham goes in a different direction either.

“Trying to give the team what it needs every night to win, I think that’s got to be our focus,” Russell said on the “Pat Bev Podcast with Rone” on August 2. “It’s got to be right play, right mentality type of energy for our group because anybody can do it. He could throw any five out there and get it done. But if we’re all committed to that, I think sky’s limited for the group.”

Ham has previously touted the Lakers’ improved depth.

This level of buy-in is what it will take and is the kind of sacrifice Ham spoke of when also saying the “sky is the limit” for his team.