Gabe Vincent has agreed to a three-year, $33 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to The Athletic. The deal leaves a hole at the point guard position for the Miami Heat, who still aim to shed Kyle Lowry’s $29 million contract at some point this summer.
Vincent averaged 9.4 points and 2.5 assists during the regular season, and then 12.7 points on 37.8% shooting from 3 and 3.5 assists in 22 playoff games.
Here’s what you need to know.
Why did the Heat let Vincent get away?
Pat Riley visited Vincent in Southern California this week to try to convince the 27-year-old point guard to stay in Miami, knowing that the Heat would not match outside offers, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson. The Heat reportedly offered Vincent a three-year, $24 million deal. When the Lakers came in with three years, $33 million, the Heat declined to match.
Vincent’s preference was to return to Miami, where he emerged as the team’s starting point guard during their NBA Finals run. But the Heat declined to offer Vincent more than $8 million per season because of how far they are above the first luxury tax line.
What about Miami’s other free agents?
In terms of immediate business, the Heat still have the free agency of Max Strus to deal with. According to Jackson and Yahoo’s Jake Fischer, the Heat are working to send Strus to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a sign-and-trade. With Vincent signing elsewhere, the Heat could pivot to trying to keep Strus, but it’s unlikely they would be willing to come up to Strus’s asking price well above the full mid-level exception of more than $12 million per season.
Among Miami’s other free agents, there is mutual interest between the Heat and Kevin Love to agree on a deal for next season. The Heat declined to pick up Omer Yurtseven’s qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
How can the Heat address the point guard position?
Even with Vincent’s departure, the Heat still hope to offload Kyle Lowry’s $29 million expiring deal. That means the point guard spot can look completely different for the Heat next season. The Heat are limited to offering minimum contracts to free agents, and some options to replace Vincent include Patrick Beverley, Cory Joseph, Aaron Holiday, Ish Smith and Goran Dragic, among others. Another name they could look at is Russell Westrbook, depending on what happens with the Clippers in their pursuit of James Harden.
Beyond free agency, the Heat could address the position with a trade. Washington’s Monte Morris is reportedly available.
What does this mean for Vincent?
Vincent got paid, he gets to return to his home state of California and play for a contender with the Lakers, who just made it to the Western Conference finals. His close friend, Bam Adebayo, seemed happy for him on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Caleb Martin posted a photo of him with Vincent and Strus posing near the Eastern Conference finals trophy to his Instagram.