Kendrick Nunn

Heat Notes: Open Roster Spot, Oladipo, Nunn

Assuming they want to remain below the luxury tax threshold for 2020/21, which is a safe bet, the Heat will be able to sign a 15th man to a rest-of-season contract as soon as Monday, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. However, Winderman suspects the team will wait a little longer to lock a player into that roster opening.

As Winderman explains, holding off on adding a 15th man would give the Heat more time to evaluate Victor Oladipo‘s health and to assess which position is the team’s greatest area of need heading into the postseason.

If the Heat ultimately determine they’re comfortable with their depth for the playoff rotation, they could instead use that 15th roster spot to sign a developmental player to a multiyear contract, Winderman notes. Miami has had success with that approach in the past, having signed Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson to three-year deals at the very end of the 2018/19 season — both Nunn and Robinson are still on those contracts today.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • The Heat and Victor Oladipo continue to seek opinions on how to treat the right knee soreness that is currently keeping him on the sidelines, says Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Both sides want to be cautious and don’t want to risk worsening the injury, but are still hoping Oladipo can return in the coming weeks and be available for the playoffs.
  • With restricted free agency around the corner this summer, Kendrick Nunn has adapted well to a constantly-changing role this season, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. After falling out of the rotation once again upon Oladipo’s arrival, Nunn returned to the starting lineup on Sunday and put up 15 points in a Heat win. “It just shows you his competitive character,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “… Kendrick’s a tough kid, tough-minded, and he really wants to be there for his team. So he’s handled it the right way, really put in a lot of time behind the scenes. And when he was given this opportunity again, he was ready for us.”
  • The Heat have eliminated vaccination-only seating sections for fans at their home games and are no longer using COVID-detection dogs, team executive VP Michael McCullough told The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Maintaining the vaccination-only section proved to be an “operational challenge,” according to the team.

Victor Oladipo To Miss At Least Four Games

Victor Oladipo will not accompany the Heat on their four-game West Coast trip, the team’s PR department tweets. He’ll undergo further evaluation in Miami.

Oladipo suffered a right knee injury against the Lakers on Thursday. He was enjoying his best game with Miami prior to the injury, posting 18 points, four rebounds and three steals in 25 minutes.

A long-term issue with Oladipo would severely hamper Miami’s attempt to make another deep playoff run. In the short term, Kendrick Nunn would seemingly re-enter the picture after losing his rotation spot and getting benched in the aftermath of the Oladipo deadline trade with Houston.

Another major injury to Oladipo, who admitted last weekend that he still hasn’t fully recovered from his serious leg injury in 2019, would naturally impact his bargaining power in unrestricted free agency this summer.

Fischer’s Latest: Gordon, Vucevic, Lowry, Redick, Ball, DeRozan

On the eve of the trade deadline, the Nuggets have become the favorites to pry Aaron Gordon away from the Magic, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Denver’s offer would include guard Gary Harris, a first-round pick, and either R.J. Hampton, Zeke Nnaji or Bol Bol.

Although the Nuggets seem to have the momentum, the Celtics are still “very engaged” in the process, according to Fischer. Boston’s proposed deal has involved Marcus Smart and a first-rounder, and it’s possible that a second first-round pick and the Celtics’ $28.5MM traded player exception could be used as well, with Evan Fournier also headed to Boston, says Fischer. Previous reports indicated that the C’s were looking to keep Smart out of the deal, offering a younger player in his place.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Trail Blazers all remain interested in acquiring Gordon too.

Fischer passes on a few more trade rumors as the deadline draws near:

  • The Celtics are one of the few teams to express interest in trading for center Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic are putting a much higher price on him than Gordon. Orlando is asking for multiple first-round picks and a player who fits with their young core. Fischer expects Vucevic to stay with the Magic.
  • The Clippers, Lakers, Sixers and Heat are all still pursuing Kyle Lowry, but the Raptors‘ high price tag may prevent a deal from getting done. Fischer believes Philadelphia would have to offer two players from the group of Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey, while Miami would need to part with Goran Dragic, another large salary and either Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. Both Los Angeles teams are limited by their lack of available draft picks.
  • J.J. Redick appears headed for a buyout as the Pelicans haven’t found a team willing to offer draft picks or prospects in return for the veteran guard. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggests a return to the Sixers is possible or maybe a reunion with former teammate Chris Paul on the Suns.
  • The Knicks are interested in Lonzo Ball and have the cap space to keep him in free agency, Pincus adds. The price could be Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and possibly the Mavericks’ 2021 first-round pick.
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is also high on the Knicks‘ wish list, states A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report.

Goodwill’s Latest: Brogdon, Blazers, McGee, Heat, Oubre, More

Multiple teams have indicated that the Pacers are open to listening to pitches on Malcolm Brogdon, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Brogdon is only in the second season of a four-year, $85MM contract, but Goodwill suggests that Indiana is comfortable with the idea of Caris LeVert manning the point if the team gets a deal it likes for Brogdon.

In addition to Brogdon, another Pacers point guard – Aaron Holiday – is thought to be available. A report last week indicated Indiana was seeking a first-round pick for Holiday, which Goodwill confirms. According to Goodwill, Holiday seems to have “fallen out of favor” somewhat in Indiana.

Here’s more from Goodwill:

  • The Trail Blazers are among the teams with interest in Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, per Goodwill. McGee could be had via trade — it remains to be seen whether he and Cleveland would work out a buyout if he stays put at the deadline.
  • The Nets are dangling Spencer Dinwiddie and a second-round pick as they look to bolster their bench, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn has discussed players like Avery Bradley, Kendrick Nunn, and Maurice Harkless with the Heat, Goodwill says.
  • Kelly Oubre‘s camp believes the Warriors forward is capable of getting a “top-10 deal” in free agency this offseason, per Goodwill. Presumably, that means one of the top 10 most valuable free agent contracts signed this summer.
  • Goodwill suggests that former Cavaliers executive Brock Aller – who is now the Knicks‘ VP of strategy – is worth keeping an eye on in the event that Cleveland moves on from current general manager Koby Altman at some point. Aller has a long-standing relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, Goodwill notes.

Scotto’s Latest: Lowry, Aldridge, Oladipo, Wolves

The Heat are among the teams that have reached out to the Raptors about veteran guard Kyle Lowry, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Some of the players discussed in a possible deal include Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk and Kendrick Nunn, according to Scotto.

Lowry, who will turn 35 this month, continues to remain productive, averaging 18.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.5 rebounds through 31 games. He recently pledged his loyalty to the franchise, but didn’t offer a guarantee that he will re-sign with Toronto when he becomes a free agent this summer.

As a one-year Bird player, Dragic has veto power over any trade, Scotto notes. If Dragic agrees to a deal and a new team declines his $19.44MM option for next season, his Bird rights will be reduced to Non-Bird when he enters free agency. Olynyk is headed for unrestricted free agency, while Nunn will be a restricted free agent if he receives a $4.7MM qualifying offer.

Scotto offers a few more tidbits in advance of the March 25 trade deadline:

  • The Heat have also talked to the Spurs about veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who won’t play again until San Antonio can work out a deal. According to Scotto, Miami offered Avery Bradley, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard to match salary and would be willing to include a minimum contract such as Chris Silva or KZ Okpala or possibly draft picks. The Spurs will have many suitors for Aldridge, and several league executives expect the Celtics to get involved with their $28.5MM trade exception, Scotto adds. Boston is about $19.9MM below the hard cap and would have to send at least $4.1MM in contracts to San Antonio in return.
  • Rockets guard Victor Oladipo may be the top player available before the deadline, a few executives tell Scotto. The Knicks and Heat are among the teams that are reportedly interested. Scotto adds that Christian Wood is the only player the rebuilding Rockets might consider untouchable.
  • Several teams have inquired about Timberwolves veterans Ed DavisRicky RubioJuan Hernangomez and Jake Layman. Minnesota would like to acquire a young forward such as the Hawks‘ John Collins or the Magic’s Aaron Gordon, Scotto notes, and has future first-rounders to offer starting in 2023.

Southeast Notes: Nunn, McMillan, Butler, Hornets

Kendrick Nunn has reestablished himself as a starter and that’s a big reason for the Heat‘s resurgence, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. During the Heat’s 10-3 stretch, Nunn has averaged 17.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.2 APG and 1.3 SPG. Nunn will be headed to restricted free agency after the season.

“Defensively, he has really helped us,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This has been a year and a half process of really learning our system, being held accountable to that, growing comfortable and being able to defend different ways.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Nate McMillan, who was named interim head coach of the Hawks on Monday, confirmed that Lloyd Pierce talked him into being his replacement, according to Charles Odum of The Associated Press. McMillan initially rebuffed GM Travis Schlenk’s offer to take the reins. “We had a conversation about the team and the move … and he just felt he didn’t think this would happen but he felt I could step in and do a good job with the team,” McMillan said. “He basically felt I should take this opportunity.”
  • Heat swingman Jimmy Butler will miss his second straight game on Tuesday due to right knee inflammation, Chiang tweets. Miami has one more game remaining prior to the All-Star break — a road matchup with the Pelicans on Thursday.
  • The Hornets are the latest team to receive approval to have fans in the stands. According to a team press release, they will host crowds at 15% capacity, or approximately 3,000 fans, beginning on March 13.

Heat Notes: Nunn, Cousins, Iguodala, Front Office

The Heat have benefited from Kendrick Nunn‘s ability to stay ready, Khobi Price of The Sun Sentinel writes. Nunn poured in 27 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one block in the team’s win over the Lakers on Saturday, making an impact on both ends of the court.

“I’m just in rhythm,” Nunn acknowledged. “I’m just in the flow of the game. Just being in the right position at the right time and just being hard to guard.”

The second-year guard also shot 10-of-14 from the field and 5-of-6 from deep in the outing, stepping up in the continued absence of Goran Dragic (ankle).

“We know what he’s capable of, especially on the offensive end,” teammate Jimmy Butler said of Nunn. “He’s been playing great defense too. He’s always ready and I give him props for that.”

There’s more out of Miami tonight:

  • Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel explores whether adding DeMarcus Cousins would make sense for the team. Cousins would likely serve as the club’s backup center with the chance to compete for a starting role, which in turn could make big man Kelly Olynyk more expendable in a potential trade for a starting power forward. The Heat have yet to replace versatile starter Jae Crowder, who left the team in free agency last offseason.
  • Winderman examines in a separate story whether the contracts of Nunn and Andre Iguodala could facilitate a trade before the March 25 deadline. Nunn has raised his trade value in recent weeks, while Iguodala is a former Finals MVP who could be added as a salary-filler in any deal.
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald examines the team’s front office and some questionable decisions made prior to the 2020/21 season. Miami made an effort to preserve its salary-cap space for the summer of 2021 (and potentially pursue Giannis Antetokounmpo), choosing not to offer Crowder or Derrick Jones Jr. multiyear deals. Antetokounmpo announced a short time later that he’d sign a five-year, $228MM super-max contract extension to remain with the Bucks.

Jarrett Allen, Kendrick Nunn Meet Starter Criteria

Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and Heat guard Kendrick Nunn both met the starter criteria as a result of being included in their respective teams’ starting lineups on Monday night.

The starter criteria applies to players who will be eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end. Typically, a player is required to start a total of 82 games during the two seasons prior to his free agency to meet the criteria, but that threshold has been adjusted and varies from player to player this year, since each of the last two NBA seasons have been shortened.

Based on the number of games their teams played prior to the hiatus last season, Allen needed a total of 68 starts over two seasons (not counting the summer bubble), while Nunn required 69. Allen had 58 pre-hiatus starts last season and recorded his 10th of this season on Monday, while Nunn had 62 last season and now has seven this year.

In order to make a player a restricted free agent, a team must issue him a qualifying offer, which is essentially a guaranteed one-year contract offer that gives the team the right of first refusal on a rival offer sheet. Meeting the starter criteria makes a player eligible for a larger qualifying offer than he would have been if he’d fallen short of that criteria.

By meeting the starter criteria, Allen boosts the value of his qualifying offer from $5,661,538 to $7,705,447, while Nunn’s QO increases from $2,122,822 to $4,736,102, the same figure that applies to his teammate Duncan Robinson.

Of course, a team has the option of forgoing a qualifying offer and making a player an unrestricted free agent rather than an RFA, but that seems unlikely to happen for Nunn and extremely unlikely for Allen, who is expected to be Cleveland’s long-term center.

Allen and Nunn are the fourth and fifth RFAs-to-be to meet the starter criteria this season, joining Robinson, Lonzo Ball, and Devonte’ Graham. Barring an injury or another unexpected development, Hawks big man John Collins, who needs just two more starts, will be the next to reach that threshold.

Heat Notes: Bradley, Dragic, Herro, Nunn

While Heat guard Avery Bradley is frustrated to be missing more time after dealing with a positive COVID-19 test and a knee contusion earlier in the season, he said this week that he’s relieved his calf strain – which will sideline him for about three or four weeks – wasn’t a more serious injury.

“I could just feel the pop, which really scared me because first thing you’re thinking with a non-contact pop is my Achilles,” Bradley said, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “So I was nervous and really frustrated. Now I’m just happy that it wasn’t anything severe and I’ll be able to rehab it.”

If the Heat play it safe with Bradley’s recovery, he likely won’t get back on the court until sometime after the All-Star break, which will run from March 5-10. However, the veteran guard hopes to beat that timeline and “get some games under my belt before the break,” as Chiang relays.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Although Bradley won’t be back anytime soon, fellow guard Goran Dragic (left ankle sprain) could rejoin the Heat as some point during their seven-game, 13-day road trip, which begins on Thursday night in Houston, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
  • Within that same Herald story, Tyler Herro says he has had no problem readjusting to a bench role after opening the season as a starter. “I played the whole (2019/20) year off the bench,” he said. “Doing whatever works for the team (is most important). Everyone hates losing. Moving to the bench wasn’t hard for me. I’ll do whatever this team needs me to do to win.”
  • In a separate story for The Miami Herald, Jackson explores how the Heat could upgrade their roster in the coming months and how they could take advantage of their projected cap room in the offseason.
  • In a mailbag, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel explains why the Heat didn’t try to beat the Knicks to the punch to acquire Derrick Rose and notes that Kendrick Nunn is unlikely to retain the starting point guard role once Dragic and Bradley are ready to go. It’s worth noting that if Nunn starts three more games this season, he’d meet the “starter criteria,” bumping the value of his qualifying offer as a restricted free agent from $2.1MM to $4.7MM.

Heat Notes: FA Signings, Offseason, Nunn, 2020 Finals Run

The free agent role player additions the Heat acquired this summer, Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless, have underwhelmed in Miami thus far, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Bradley, signed to a two-year, $11.6MM deal (with a team option for year two), is averaging 8.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.4 APG and 0.7 SPG in just 10 games, and will now miss at least 3-4 weeks of action due to a right calf injury. Forward Harkless, signed to a one-year, $3.6MM contract, is out of the Heat’s rotation. He has appeared in just nine games for Miami, averaging a career-low 10.7 MPG.

There’s more out of South Beach: