Gabe Vincent says the decision to leave the Miami Heat and join the Los Angeles Lakers was one of the toughest he’s had to do in his life.
Vincent who went into free agency after the Heat’s NBA Finals loss to the Denver Nuggets joined the LA Lakers on a three-year deal for $33 million ($11 million per season) ending his over three years stint in Florida.
Although the Heat made efforts to keep the 27-year-old star in the organization, they fell short in their estimation and valuation of the floor general as they were only willing to sign a four-year deal with D’Tigers star for $34m ($8.5 million per season).
After three years with the Heat and reaching the NBA finals twice within that period, Vincent said he hoped to stay back with the Heat and play alongside the stars that made him grow but the business part of the game played a huge part in him joining the Lakers.
“I don’t think it was easy (leaving the Heat),” Vincent said during an appearance this week on JJ Redick’s ‘The Old Man and the Three’ podcast per Miami Herald. “Miami was the team that gave me an opportunity. I grew while there. We had some great runs while I was there, so it wasn’t easy.
“I don’t think it’s any secret, I was pretty open about being willing to go back, wanting to go back, and my love for the organization and I think it was reciprocated. But when it came down to it, business got in the way and there were certain points that the Heat could only get to and other teams were able to get to more. It just kind of made more sense at the end of the day. Business played a role, but also just situations.”
Vincent who had developed close relationships with the likes of Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Tyler Herro, coach Erik Spoelstra says although he’ll miss the players and staff at the Heat, the lifelong friendship is what he’ll forever be grateful for.
“The relationships that I have with those guys are, to me, lifelong. Even the guys that I played with, the staff, to the front office. I got to know all of them very well and closely. So it wasn’t an easy decision. It was a huge draw to come back, for sure. But it had to make sense for me and my family. I couldn’t just make a decision.
“I’ll miss my teammates, to be honest,” Vincent said to the Miami Herald. “Obviously, the weather, as well. I’m sure it’s incredibly hot right now. But I’ll miss it, for sure. I’ll miss those guys. I’ll see them and I’ve still been in touch with them on the phone with them. I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be going to Max [Strus’] camp even though he’s no longer with them, as well. We do a good job of staying in touch.”