Lakers’ Darvin Ham Gives Notable Update on $33 Million Free Agent - Sport News

Lakers’ Darvin Ham Gives Notable Update on $33 Million Free Agent

The Los Angeles Lakers have played 38 straight games without 2023 offseason free agent pickup Gabe Vincent.

Lakers Injury Report: Gabe Vincent 'ramping up', may return next week -  Silver Screen and Roll

They are 21-18 in that span.

But they would undoubtedly welcome him back into the mix as soon as possible after signing him to a three-year, $33 million contract. Fortunately for both sides, Vincent is ready to get back on the floor.

“[Lakers head coach] Darvin Ham says Gabe Vincent has been cleared for non-contact work,” the LA Times’ Dan Woike reported on X, formerly Twitter, on March 12.

This comes on the heels of a report that Vincent was trending towards this step.

“Gabe Vincent is doing more and more on the court,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania said on “Run It Back” on March 5. “The Lakers will know more, I think, next week where Gabe Vincent stands. But barring any setbacks, it’s still mid-to-late March that he can get back in the lineup. The Lakers can still use another guard in the backcourt.”

“Gabe Vincent is doing more and more on the court…Barring any setbacks, his hope is still mid to late March to get back in the lineup for the Lakers.”

Vincent, 27, is averaging 5.4 points, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 rebounds this season. He is shooting 37.5% from the floor and 11.8% from downtown. Adding is three-point efficiency – 37.8% in last year’s playoffs – and defense could be key.

The Lakers rank ninth in three-point efficiency but they are 30th in attempts per game. Their guards also boast the 12th-best defensive rating, per advanced data.

Vincent underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee in late December.

Lakers G Gabe Vincent on Road to Recovery

The team announced on December 27 that his procedure was successful and gave a projected timeline to return of “six to eight weeks”.

“You just have to make sure everything is well and good with him and his health first and foremost,” Ham told reporters on December 23. “And then you just try to activate Plan B, which is next man up, so to speak.

“Our No. 1, top priority is just to make sure that we know what’s going on with him, and put him in a position where he can get healthy.”

It is unclear how much of a role Vincent can carve out when he returns to the floor. There are only 16 games left in the regular season. And Ham will likely want to have his potential playoff rotations somewhat locked in by then.

Vincent will also need some time to get reacclimated physically after such a long layoff. His last game was on December 20.

He wasn’t the only injured Laker to get an update, either.

Jarred Vanderbilt ‘Progressing’

Jarred Vanderbilt has been out since February 1 with a sprained foot. There was optimism that the forward would be able to return this season. But Woike’s other note put somewhat of a damper on that.

“Vanderbilt is progressing in his recovery but hasn’t been cleared for on-court work,” Woike reported in a subsequent post.

With 29 games under his belt this season, he could have an easier time getting back up to speed than Vincent in a return. But he would have to return soon just as would Vincent to make a significant impact.

The Lakers’ next matchup is against the Sacramento Kings on March 13. They are 0-3 against the Kings this season.

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