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Other NBA teams reportedly see Clippers second-round picks as more valuable than Gabe Vincent

If the Lakers were thinking of using Gabe Vincent as salary ballast in a deal at the NBA trade deadline, it may not be that easy.

Los Angeles Lakers v Chicago Bulls Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

When the Lakers signed Gabe Vincent to a three-year, $33 million contract over the summer, the expectation was that he would give them a backcourt upgrade and immediately become a core rotation player that could help elevate them in the NBA Playoffs.

So far, that hasn’t been anywhere close to what the Lakers have gotten, although through no fault of Vincent’s own. The four-year veteran has appeared in just five of the team’s 47 games this season, and is currently slated to be out until February at the earliest after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in December.

In his just 127 minutes of floor time, Vincent has hardly looked like a difference-maker, either, making just 12 of his 32 shots and only two of his 17 threes. That’s hardly enough time to fully judge his merits as a player for the purple and gold overall, but it certainly hasn’t left him with much trade value as the Lakers look around the league to fortify their roster for a playoff push that it’s at this point unknown if Vincent will ever be well enough to contribute to.

And so, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times, executives he polled around the league see Vincent as the team’s worst trade asset, less valuable than even the two Clippers second-round picks the team owns:

9. Second-round picks

The extra seconds the Lakers have came via the Clippers, meaning they’re likely headed for the back end of the draft.

10. Gabe Vincent

Vincent’s knee injury and the $22.5 million left on the next two years of his contract mean the Lakers would have to add assets in any trade.

You can click above to find out the full reasoning why, but opposing executives Woike spoke with ranked the team’s assets, in order, as: 1) their 2029 first-rounder, 2) LeBron James, 3) Austin Reaves, 4) their available pick swaps, 5) Max Christie, 6) Jalen Hood-Schifino, 7) D’Angelo Russell, 8) Rui Hachimura, and then their available second-round picks (2024 and 2025 Clippers seconds, as well as their own 2025 and 2027 picks)... and then Vincent.

A guy who started for a finals team last year — and is on a relatively cheap deal — is seen as less valuable by execs around the league than picks that in all likelihood will be in the 50s of a 60-player draft. Yeesh.

Again, to be as fair as possible, this is not Vincent’s fault. And while hindsight is always 20/20, to be just as fair to Rob Pelinka, Kurt Rambis and Co., there was no way the front office could have foreseen Vincent missing nearly the entire season with what started out as simple “left knee soreness.”

With all that said... Woof, what a whiff of a signing going after Vincent instead of retaining Dennis Schröder might end up being. The two years beyond this one Dan mentions above are fully guaranteed with no team or player options, too, meaning that the Lakers and Vincent could be together for a while yet if he’s not used as salary ballast. A $10ish million-a-year contract obviously isn’t unmovable, but it may not be easy to do so unless Vincent comes back and plays well, which would also likely make the Lakers want to move him less.

Now, maybe this knee surgery goes great, and Vincent returns after the trade deadline and helps fuel a playoff push. It’s always possible, even if it’s hard to look at the history of midseason knee surgeries on small guards and feel great about that possibility. But the team may still just have to hope for that outcome, ultimately, because unless another team really wants those second-rounders ranked ahead of Vincent badly, using his deal as a human trade exception to acquire deadline help may not be as simple as us trade machine addicts are hoping for.

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