Gabe Vincent underscores Jimmy Butler and Miami by choosing the 39-year-old LeBron James-led LA Lakers and join a "contending team"

Gabe Vincent has chosen to play with LeBron James instead of former teammate Jimmy Butler.
Gabe Vincent has chosen to play with LeBron James instead of former teammate Jimmy Butler.

Gabe Vincent left the Miami Heat to sign for the LA Lakers and play alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Per Jovan Buha of The Athletic:

"Gabe Vincent says he chose the Lakers because he wanted to join a contending team and compete for championships. The Modesto, Calif., native also mentioned the advantages of being closer to home and playing for an iconic franchise."

Vincent’s first foray in Miami started with a two-way contract during the 2020-21 season. The Heat turned that contract into a regular one starting the 2021-22 campaign. Vincent became an unrestricted free agent after last season.

The former undrafted rookie turned in the best performance of his career last season. He averaged 9.4 points, 2.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds as a part-time starter behind Kyle Lowry. Vincent eventually took the reins of the Heat’s offense near the trade deadline.

The playoffs were when Gabe Vincent really made a name for himself. With both Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo injured, the Modesto, California native came up big. He averaged 12.7 PPG on 40.2% shooting, including 37.8% from behind the arc.

Vincent’s superb performance made the Miami Heat realize they could lose him in free agency. Pat Riley tried to retain him by reportedly offering a four-year, $34 million deal.

The LA Lakers came swooping in with a $33 million contract for three years. They also gave Gabe Vincent the chance to play for his hometown team alongside LeBron James, the player he considers the basketball GOAT.

The four-year guard is jumping from the Eastern Conference champs with Jimmy Butler to play with “King James” and the Western Conference finalists. Besides the difference in the deal, he may believe the LA Lakers will give him a better chance of contending for the championship.

Vincent chose the shorter but more lucrative offer. He will have to prove himself again as he is likely to come off the bench after the Lakers brought back starting point guard D’Angelo Russell.

Gabe Vincent could win the LA Lakers’ starting point guard job

LeBron James often plays the point guard for the LA Lakers, especially during the playoffs. When “King James” demands to orchestrate the team’s offense, no one, not even coach Darvin Ham will deny him that.

In the regular season, though, James will give part of that responsibility to someone else. D’Angelo Russell earned that task after the Lakers traded Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley.

With Russell back with the team, Gabe Vincent will have to battle him for the starting point guard role.

Based on the last playoffs’ performance, Vincent may even have the inside track to get Ham’s nod. The UC Santa Barbara product had an outstanding series against the Boston Celtics and played decently versus the Denver Nuggets.

D’Angelo Russell, on the other hand, was nearly unplayable in the conference finals against the Nuggets. Russell’s terrible shooting paired with his almost non-existent defense forced Darvin Ham to relegate him to the bench.

Gabe Vincent, meanwhile, was a staple in Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s starting rotation. No one will be surprised if the Nigerian comes out as the winner against Russell in the battle for the Lakers’ starting point guard job.

Also read: Who all did the LA Lakers sign in free agency? Rating their signings so far

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Edited by Michael Macasero