Lakers Notes: Vincent, Vanderbilt, Bronny, Russell

Lakers guard Gabe Vincent, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late December, has been cleared for non-contact on-court work, head coach Darvin Ham told reporters today (Twitter link via Khobi Price of The Southern California News Group).

Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported on Monday during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run It Back (Twitter video link) that Vincent had progressed to “conditioning and ramping up,” adding that he could return to action as soon as next week. While that remains possible, Ham’s update on Tuesday suggests that the veteran still isn’t taking contact, so he has a little more work to do before he’s ready to suit up.

Vincent, who received a three-year deal worth most of the Lakers’ mid-level exception this season, has been limited to just five appearances due to health issues after having been an important part of Miami’s rotation during the team’s NBA Finals run last spring. He’s owed guaranteed salaries of $11MM in 2024/25 and $11.5MM in ’25/26.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt, sidelined since February 1 due to a left foot sprain, doesn’t appear to be quite as far along as Vincent in his rehab process. Ham said today that Vanderbilt is making progress but hasn’t yet been cleared for on-court work (Twitter link via Price).
  • With USC’s season nearing its end, Bronny James has yet to establish himself as “any kind of draftable player for 2024,” according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who writes that the idea of LeBron James teaming up with his son next season in Los Angeles looks increasingly unlikely. The optimal developmental path for Bronny probably involves him remaining in college for at least another year, Hollinger adds.
  • Within the same Athletic story, Hollinger notes that D’Angelo Russell‘s expiring contract has long been viewed as a logical trade asset for the Lakers this offseason, but wonders whether it’s a lock that the point guard will pick up his $18.7MM player option for 2024/25, given how well he has played as of late (22.5 PPG and 6.4 APG on .477/.457/.848 shooting in his past 26 games). If Russell opts out, it could complicate Los Angeles’ plans on the trade market, Hollinger observes, since the team won’t have any other sizable expiring deals.
  • It’s impossible to predict how this Lakers’ season will end, Bill Plaschke writes in a column for The Los Angeles Times. As Plaschke details, a recent stretch that included impressive wins over Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, and Minnesota also featured disappointing losses to potential playoff opponents like Denver and Sacramento. Ham said on Sunday that he believes the team is “trending in the right direction,” but stressed that L.A. must bear down to continue that trend: “Just take things one day at a time, one game at a time.”
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