A shorter season than expected for the Los Angeles Lakers means one thing for Wenyen Gabriel: more time to prepare for next season. Although the power forward played only 26 games with the team, he made an impression on the front office and hopes to be back with the Purple and Gold next season.
Gabriel started out on the Lakers on a two-way contract, then received a standard NBA contract in early April, with a team option for 2022-23. Gabriel was one of many young players who stepped it up for the Lakers this season, in light of injuries to the team’s veteran starters, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Despite joining the roster nearly halfway through the regular season, Gabriel quickly became an essential role player and by March, he was starting in multiple games. The Lakers benefited from his shooting and steady effort on the boards, as they were lacking length without Davis.
Gabriel shared his motives for the summer following a meeting with Senior Basketball Advisor, Kurt Rambis and Vice President of Operations and General Manager, Rob Pelinka.
“Yeah, it was real positive, my meeting with Rob and Kurt,” Gabriel said. “They’re excited to have me here this summer so I can put in some work and they said a lot of good things about me, complimented my game and different things that I bring to the court. Just improve on different things as I put on some more weight, spend some time in the weight room and continue to improve my shot. But it wasn’t too much different things that they wanted to see, just put in the time. We have a long offseason and getting myself to work I think is gonna show results, so we’re both really excited.”
The Lakers are Gabriel’s sixth team since he entered the NBA in 2020. Since he is on a team option for next season, the Lakers can choose to extend the contract through 2023, or sign another player if they don’t see the need for Gabriel.
While the Lakers are still struggling to tie down a new head coach, Gabriel is focused on his own contract until then.
LeBron still king in jersey sales
Despite a disappointing season for the Lakers, one title James continues to hold is most jersey sales for the 2021-22 season. The league announced that the Lakers star led sales on NBA.com for both halves of the season, regardless of the lackluster end.
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