Kendrick Nunn

Injury Notes: Diakite, P. Williams, C. White, Zion, Lakers

Thunder forward Mamadi Diakite has been diagnosed with a left hip fracture and has been ruled out indefinitely, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter links). Diakite sustained the injury during Sunday’s preseason game against Milwaukee, Mussatto adds.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for Diakite, who was claimed off waivers by the Thunder last month and was trying to prove he deserved a spot on the regular season roster. Only $100K of Diakite’s minimum-salary contract is guaranteed, making him a potential casualty of a roster crunch.

Although the Thunder haven’t revealed their plans for their 15-man regular season roster, they’re carrying 13 players on guaranteed contracts, and Kenrich Williams is a lock for the roster despite his non-guaranteed salary. That leaves just one available 15-man spot — if Diakite’s injury takes him out of the running, Gabriel Deck and D.J. Wilson would likely be the top contenders for it.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Bulls forward Patrick Williams appears to be nearing a return. He participated fully in Wednesday’s practice and said his injured ankle “feels good,” per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Bulls guard Coby White, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, still isn’t close to being cleared for contact. Head coach Billy Donovan said on Wednesday the team is about three or four weeks away from determining the next step in White’s rehab process (Twitter link via Cody Westerlund of
  • Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin said last month he thought Zion Williamson, who underwent offseason foot surgery, would be ready for opening night. However, head coach Willie Green confirmed on Monday that Williamson still isn’t running or participating in team activities, according to William Guillory of The Athletic, who says Zion’s uncertain status leaves New Orleans in limbo with the regular season around the corner.
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is hopeful that Malik Monk (groin) and Kendrick Nunn (ankle) will be ready to go by opening night, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group (Twitter links). However, veteran guard Wayne Ellington is dealing with a hamstring strain that makes him more of a question mark for the start of the season.

Lakers Notes: Centers, Monk, Two-Ways, Brown, Queen

With Anthony Davis expected to see more action at the center spot this season, it remains to be seen how much playing time former All-NBA big men Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan will get at the five for the Lakers. However, as Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times writes, Jordan isn’t overly concerned about how many minutes he’ll play.

“That’s the blessing of it, having a lot of different lineups that you can use. And I think each game is gonna have a say on what we do,” Jordan said on Saturday. “We can be rolling with a huge lineup. And, you know, we’ll win with that. And some games may need us to go small. And I think that at this point of my career, of all of our careers, you know, at the end of the day, ultimately, we just want to be able to win and be able to achieve something as a collective.”

Howard, who played a career-low 17.3 minutes per contest last season in Philadelphia, shares Jordan’s philosophy.

“Leave the ego at the door, leave it at home when you wake up,” Howard said of his role. “There’s no need to have it. We all represent this emblem that’s behind me, this Laker logo. We understand that, and it’s whatever the team needs to win.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Malik Monk‘s impressive preseason debut on Sunday further complicates an already-crowded battle for playing time at shooting guard, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who observes that the Lakers will have to find time at the two for Monk, Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn. Nunn has generally played point guard, but may not see much action there if Russell Westbrook plays big minutes and Rajon Rondo has a regular role, Buha notes.
  • Cameron Oliver, Mac McClung, Chaundee Brown, and Trevelin Queen are the camp invitees currently in the mix for the Lakers’ second two-way contract slot, but the team could end up going outside of the organization to fill that spot, as Buta writes in the same story. “We’re gonna see how the preseason plays out,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “See who all is available, both the guys that are here, or who are around the league, guys that might get cut, and we’ll make a decision closer to opening night.”
  • If the Lakers do convert one of their current camp invitees to a two-way contract, Brown and Queen may be the frontrunners, says Buha. Both of those players are wings, which might be the Lakers’ biggest need.

Lakers Notes: Russ-LeBron, Nunn, AD, Reaves

Pricey new Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook expressed confidence in his fit alongside LeBron James, one of the most ball-dominant teammates with whom the very ball-dominant Westbrook has ever played. The decorated 6’3″ vet also made it clear that Los Angeles is heading into the 2021/22 season with title expectations.

“LeBron out of anybody else, he knows what it takes to win a championship,” Westbrook said during the team’s Media Day on Tuesday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “And that’s the ultimate goal. So anything along the way … we cannot get distracted, cannot get deterred from our ultimate goal.”

The Lakers will be Westbrook’s fourth team in four years, following stints with the Thunder in 2018/19, the Rockets in 2019/20, and the Wizards in 2020/21. Last year, Westbrook was not named to the All-Star team during a relatively healthy season for the first time since 2009/10. His backcourt mate Bradley Beal was the lone Wizards player to earn that honor in 2021.

Though he averaged 22.2 PPG, a league-leading 11.7 APG, and 11.5 RPG (his fourth triple-double in five seasons), Westbrook was relatively inefficient as a shooter during his Wizards tenure. Westbrook posted a shooting line of .439/.315/.656. The Lakers are hoping that the 2017 MVP, 32, can help expedite their offense and relieve 36-year-old LeBron James of his playmaking burden, especially during the regular season.

He ups our pace right away,” James raved about his new teammate. “He’s always in the top five as far as pace. Whatever team is what he with, so being able to get out and being able to get out on the break and be able to try to get some early buckets before the defense is set. That creates that. But also he’s just a flat-out playmaker. I think what a lot of people don’t talk about in his game is how unbelievable of a passer he is. Everyone sees the rebounds, everyone sees the scoring and things of that nature, but his passing, his ability to make guys around him better, that does not get talked about a lot.”

There’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • New Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn has joined many of his L.A. teammates on the decorated roster of Klutch Sports clients, McMenamin reports (via Twitter). Nunn, who faced off against the Lakers in the 2020 Finals as a rookie on the Heat, signed a two-year, $10MM deal with Los Angeles this summer. After going undrafted out of Oakland in 2018, the 6’2″ point guard carved out a role for himself on a veteran-laden Miami squad in the 2019/20 season, and was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2020. Nunn averaged 15.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, 2.9 APG and 0.9 SPG during his two seasons with the Heat. The 26-year-old boasts an impressive career shooting line of .458/.364/.881.
  • Lakers All-Star big man Anthony Davis acknowledged during the team’s Media Day that he has had conversations with head coach Frank Vogel about finally becoming the club’s starting center, per Mark Medina of USA Today (Twitter video link). Los Angeles rebuilt its frontcourt rotation around Davis during the offseason, adding veteran former All-Star centers DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard on minimum deals. “That was discussed and I expect to play center,” Davis said. “Obviously there’s times where Dwight or DJ might get the start at center depending on games, but for the most part, I think the plan is to go with me playing center.” In the past, Davis has preferred to start at the power forward position. He has shared the floor alongside a variety of veteran centers while with the Lakers, though Los Angeles found its most success in the 2020 playoffs with Davis at the center position.
  • Further details have emerged concerning the new contract of Lakers guard Austin Reaves, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (via Twitter). Smith reports that the deal is a two-year contract at the league minimum. Reaves has a partial guarantee of $100K for the 2021/22 season, and his full first-year salary will become guaranteed on January 10, 2022. The second year of the agreement is fully non-guaranteed. The 6’5″ rookie, 23, went undrafted out of Oklahoma this summer.

Lakers Notes: Anthony, LeBron, Nunn, Coaching Staff

Carmelo Anthony was hoping to return to the Trail Blazers this summer before LeBron James urged him to join the Lakers, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Appearing on Haynes’ “Posted Up” podcast, Anthony said he was waiting to see if Portland was interested in bringing him back when James reached out to him. Anthony spent the last two years with the Blazers, but said management didn’t contact him about a return.

“No, not the way I thought. But honestly, I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “… Not to say Portland did anything wrong, but I was sitting around because I’m a loyal person. I didn’t want to leave (Damian Lillard) and CJ (McCollum) and those guys. But I know the business.”

In addition to his long friendship with James, Anthony chose the Lakers because he sees the team as his best hope to cap off his career with a championship. He told Haynes that several other organizations expressed interest, which felt good after being out of the league two years ago.

“New York was always there, always a story,” Anthony said. “I told my son when he made it to high school, I’d be there. Philly, I didn’t get a chance to converse with Philly, but there was interest. New Orleans had interest. It felt good to see that again and being a part of teams being interested in me when 18-20 months again, it was nobody.”

There’s more from L.A.:

  • James has played fewer minutes per game each season since 2016/17, and Jovan Buha of The Athletic expects that trend to continue this year. James will turn 37 in December and the Lakers will be try to be careful with him to avoid the kind of long-term injury he had last season.
  • Of all the players the Lakers added in free agency, Kendrick Nunn was probably the most surprising, Buha adds in the same piece. The former Heat guard signed for the taxpayer mid-level exception, and Buha speculates that he could have gotten a better offer from another team. Buha also questions whether Nunn will get the playing time he’s used to with Russell Westbrook handling most of the minutes at point guard.
  • The Lakers have officially announced the additions of David Fizdale and John Lucas III as assistant coaches (Twitter link). Both hires were previously reported.

Southeast Notes: Nunn, Rozier, Wagner, Garnett

New NBPA president CJ McCollum is unhappy with how the Heat handled Kendrick Nunn during free agency. On August 3, Miami pulled its qualifying offer for Nunn, making him an unrestricted free agent. Appearing on a podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, McCollum charged that the Heat made the decision after most teams with cap space had already allocated their free agent money (hat tip to Brad Sullivan of Heat Nation).

“The Kendrick Nunn situation,” McCollum said. “He was gonna be a free agent. They basically waited until the money dried up, right? You correct me if I’m wrong. Have you (Wojnarowski) seen this happening in the league and not being discussed at all? Where they talk about players forcing their way out, player movement. But then what about the manipulation that goes into some of these situations where teams are waiting for the market to dry up before they release a player’s rights.”

Nunn wound up signing a two-year, $10MM contract with the Lakers that includes a player option for the second season. L.A. used its taxpayer mid-level exception for the deal.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Terry Rozier‘s four-year extension with the Hornets is an indication of the weakness of next summer’s free agent class, writes Dan Devine of The Ringer. Several big names that could have been on the market in 2022 have already signed extensions, and Charlotte doesn’t have a strong history of attracting free agents. Devine points out that Rozier’s new contract, which could be worth more than $96MM, only ranks 19th among NBA guards, which is in line with his recent production. It also provides some continuity for a team that lost Devonte’ Graham, Cody Zeller and Malik Monk.
  • The Magic got what they expected from Franz Wagner during Summer League, according to Josh Cohen of The No. 8 pick averaged 8.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in four games and showed good instincts that make up for his limited athleticism.
  • Assistant coach Marlon Garnett has left the Hawks‘ staff to join the Hornets, tweets Chris Kirschner of The Athletic.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Offseason, Yurtseven, Investigation

New starting Heat point guard Kyle Lowry discussed his expectations for this offseason’s revamped Miami club with media on Friday and Saturday, as Couper Moorhead of details.

“On paper it looks great,” Lowry, a 2019 title winner with the Raptors, said of Miami’s new-look roster. “But you have to put the work in on the floor. I don’t ever try to say we can do this, we can do that. At the end of the day you have to go out there, lace ‘em up and do your job. Play defense, put the ball in the hole.”

Miami’s sign-and-trade deal with the Raptors that sent Lowry to the Heat is currently being investigated by the NBA, as the league is cracking down on violations to its anti-tampering stance on free agency.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • In his latest notes roundup, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel discusses the re-signing of Victor Oladipo, plus the departures of Kendrick Nunn (after the team made him an unrestricted free agent) and Andre Iguodala (after the Heat did not pick up the second year of his contract). Winderman notes that Oladipo, Lowry, and new Heat power forward P.J. Tucker were all potential trade targets for Miami during the 2020/21 season, though Miami was unwilling to part with young players Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Winderman adds that Miami’s decision to move on from Nunn speaks to the team’s preference for Herro, regarded as having higher upside.
  • Now that the Heat have inked a two-year minimum deal with center Omer YurtsevenIra Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel examines the seven-footer’s fit as with a Miami team hungry to contend. After Yurtseven’s promising NBAGL 2020/21 season for the Oklahoma City Blue, Miami signed him for the rest of the year. He posted encouraging averages of 26 PPG and 13.5 RPG in two California Classic Summer League this year, and ultimately opted to return to Miami.
  • Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald has further details on the NBA’s investigation into the Heat’s Lowry sign-and-trade with the Raptors. Chiang writes that the investigation is most likely being conducted as a result of at least one other NBA team complaining about the expediency of the deal, while Winderman tweets that it’s more about “gun-jumping” than tampering.
  • Within Chiang’s story, Bobby Marks of ESPN said the sign-and-trade for Lowry almost certainly won’t be voided. “I would say highly, highly unlikely that the trade will be voided and that Kyle is a free agent all of a sudden,” Marks said. “I think what will happen is if they’re found guilty, there will be some financial penalty and draft picks will be lost here.” Marks anticipates the investigation could last for around two weeks.

Western Contract Details: Gay, Conley, Graham, Nunn, SGA

Originally reported as a two-year deal with a second-year player option, Rudy Gay‘s new contract with the Jazz actually covers three years, with a third-year player option, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). The full three-year value of the contract, which was officially announced on Friday, comes in at about $18.55MM.

Smith has details on several other newly-signed contracts from around the Western Conference, so let’s dive in and round up some of the highlights (all links are courtesy of Smith)…

  • Mike Conley‘s three-year deal with the Jazz includes some unlikely bonuses and has a partial guarantee on year three (Twitter link). The 2023/24 salary of $24.36MM is only guaranteed for $14.32MM.
  • Devonte’ Graham‘s four-year contract with the Pelicans starts at $11MM and features 5% annual raises (Twitter link). The fourth year salary of $12.65MM is only partially guaranteed for $2.85MM.
  • The Lakers used most of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Kendrick Nunn (Twitter link). His deal is worth $5MM in 2021/22, with a $5.25MM second-year player option.
  • The Mavericks used the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Reggie Bullock to a three-year deal worth slightly over $30MM (Twitter link). The contract, which includes a 5% trade bonus, is only guaranteed for $5.45MM (of $10.49MM) in the final year.
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s five-year, maximum-salary extension with the Thunder includes a 15% trade kicker (Twitter link).

Lakers Sign Kendrick Nunn

AUGUST 6: The Lakers have made it official with Nunn, announcing his new deal in a press release.

AUGUST 3: The Lakers and point guard Kendrick Nunn are in agreement on a two-year contract with a player option in year two, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Agent Adam Pensack tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) that the two-year deal will be worth $10MM, an indication that the Lakers are using the taxpayer mid-level exception to complete the signing.

Nunn turned down more money from the Knicks and other suitors in order to join the Lakers, according to Charania (Twitter link). He should get the opportunity to be Russell Westbrook‘s primary backup at the point on the new-look Lakers in 2021/22.

After beginning the free agency period as a restricted free agent, Nunn had his $4.7MM qualifying offer rescinded by the Heat once it became clear that there wouldn’t be room under the team’s hard cap to fit in a new deal for the 6’2″ guard. That made him unrestricted, opening the door for him to complete a contract agreement with the Lakers.

Nunn, who is celebrating his 26th birthday today, was out of Miami’s rotation at times in 2020/21, but played well when he saw regular minutes, averaging 14.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.6 APG on .485/.381/.933 shooting in 56 games (29.5 MPG).

Having committed to using their taxpayer MLE, the Lakers now have a projected tax bill of $42.3MM, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

Heat Pull Qualifying Offer On Kendrick Nunn

The Heat have pulled the $4.74MM qualifying offer on point guard Kendrick Nunn, making him an unrestricted free agent, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Miami no longer has the ability to match an offer for Nunn, who can now sign outright with a new team.

Nunn, 26, is coming off an inconsistent stint with Miami, seeing his role fluctuate during his two seasons with the team. He still managed to average 15 points and 3.0 assists in 123 regular-season games (29.4 MPG), shooting 46% from the floor.

The Heat signed Nunn at the end of the 2018/19 season, developing him as a young player behind starting point guard Goran Dragic. Miami is also expected to deal Dragic as part of a sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry, the team’s prized free-agent acquisition of the summer.

In addition to Lowry, the Heat agreed to re-sign four of its own free agents and landed P.J. Tucker on a two-year, $15MM contract. The team has 10 players under contract and will likely fill its remaining roster spots on minimum-salary deals or something close to it — in addition to two players on two-way contracts.

Eastern Rumors: Ball, Rose, Tucker, Portis, Allen, Williams, Fournier, Schroder, Horton-Tucker

The Bulls are looking to make to major additions to shore up their point guard position, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The Bulls have been linked for months to Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and there’s thought to be mutual interest between the two sides on a four-year deal worth more than $80MM. If the Pelicans extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to Ball, he’ll be a restricted free agent — the Bulls would have to give him an offer sheet and hope New Orleans doesn’t match it, or work out a sign-and-trade with the Pels.

The Bulls may have some competition from the Celtics, who have been recently mentioned as a potential Ball suitor after dealing away Kemba Walker. There’s increasing speculation the Celtics will not look to re-sign unrestricted free agent Evan Fournier, says Fischer. That possibility increased significantly after the Celtics agreed to acquire Josh Richardson from the Mavericks.

Chicago is also considering another Derrick Rose reunion and there’s mutual interest. It’s uncertain if the Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau can convince Rose, an unrestricted free agent, to re-sign with them if the Bulls make a hard push. However, Chicago will likely need to shed salary in order to bring in both Ball and Rose and the Knicks have plenty of cap room to outbid the Bulls for his services. While that’s a best case scenario in the Bulls’ eyes, they’re intent on adding two point guards this summer, especially with Coby White out indefinitely after undergoing left shoulder surgery, per Fischer.

Fischer offers up a number of other interesting items:

  • The Bucks are interested in bringing back two of their prominent free agents. They’d like to re-sign defensive specialist P.J. Tucker on a contract in the neighborhood of two years and $20MM. They are also hoping to re-sign forward Bobby Portis and the feeling is mutual. Since the Bucks only have Non-Bird rights on Portis, they’d have to use their mid-level exception to give him a starting salary higher than about $4.3MM.
  • The Cavaliers view the Raptors as their main threat to re-signing restricted free agent Jarrett Allen. Toronto’s interest in Allen surfaced last weekend. However, Cleveland is likely to match any offer sheet for Allen. The Raptors are also eying Kings free agent Richaun Holmes.
  • League sources think Lou Williams, one of the league’s top reserves, could re-sign with the Hawks on a veteran’s minimum deal, sys Fischer.
  • The Knicks, who need to add scoring punch, have expressed interest in Fournier. They’ve also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker. Schroder will be looking for a new home after the Lakers agreed to acquire Russell Westbrook. Previous reports have indicated the Knicks’ potential pursuit of Fournier and Schroder. Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent after the Lakers extended a qualifying offer, though the team has the option of pulling it off the table.
  • According to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, there’s support within the Knicks organization to pursue Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie and he’s interested in remaining in New York. Devonte’ GrahamKendrick Nunn, and Kyle Lowry are some other potential targets at point guard. At the wing, the Knicks have some interest in the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan and they’ve had discussions with the Magic this week regarding a potential Terrence Ross trade.