Kendrick Nunn

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Williams, Nunn, Lakers’ Staff, Vezenkov

The Suns matched the Pacers’ four-year, $133MM offer sheet for Deandre Ayton but there’s still some lingering tensions between the center and coach Monty Williams. Ayton said on Tuesday he still hasn’t spoken with Williams since he was benched during the Game 7 conference semifinals loss to the Mavericks in the spring.

“I haven’t spoken to him at all, ever since the game,” Ayton told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and other media members. Asked what he plans to say to Williams when they do speak, Ayton replied, “I can show him better than I can tell him. It’s life. Nobody cares about the uncomfortable nature of it, it’s how you perform and what you bring to the table. What’s said is already said.”

Williams believes he’ll be able to mend fences with Ayton.

“I think 1-on-1s are always needed between guys I’ve been around for awhile,” Williams said. “Some guys need it and some guys don’t. I’ll identify that as the season progresses. I’ll talk to everybody as I always do during camp and it won’t be an issue at all.”

If things can’t be worked out, Phoenix will have to wait before finding a new home for Ayton. He’s not eligible to be dealt until January 15.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • After missing all of last season due to a knee injury, Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn was a full participant in the team’s first practice on Tuesday, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets“Getting the rhythm back and feeling good on the floor with no injuries, feeling pain-free and able to play is everything for me,” he said. “So today was a good day for me.”
  • The Lakers officially announced Darvin Ham‘s coaching staff in a press releaseChris Jent, Jordan Ott, J.D. DuBois, Schuyler Rimmer and Zach Peterson are the newcomers, joining Phil Handy, Dru Anthrop and Jon Pastorek.
  • The Kings expressed some interest in European star Sasha Vezenkov this offseason but he decided to stay at least for one more season with Greece’s Olympiacos. Vezenkov, a 2017 second-round pick, believes he made the right move, according to Achilleas Mavrodontis of “It was the first summer in a long time that there was some solid talk, and the Kings showed interest,” he said. “Based on the information, what I heard, and what I had on the table, I decided that the best option for me was Olynpiacos. I don’t look back. I always stand by my decisions. I’m trying to prove that it was the best choice.”

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Beverley, Nunn, Brown, Walker, Schröder

New Lakers head coach Darvin Ham isn’t committing to having Russell Westbrook in his starting lineup to open the 2022/23 season, telling reporters on Monday that the team has a “variety of options to fill in our backcourt,” as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group tweets.

It might have made a bad situation in Los Angeles worse if Westbrook had been pulled from the team’s starting lineup last season, but the former MVP appears to be keeping an open mind as he prepares for the coming year. Prior to his Media Day session, Westbrook told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that it doesn’t matter whether or not he feels “wanted” by the Lakers and that he’s “all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” even if that means coming off the bench.

Westbrook – who told Wojnarowski that he thinks he, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James can be “unstoppable” – said to reporters on Monday that he has talked to Davis and James at length this summer about what worked and didn’t work last season, and has found those conversations “very beneficial” (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic).

While there’s no guarantee that Westbrook – long considered a trade candidate – will spend the entire season in Los Angeles, Lakers head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said today that the point guard is still one of the NBA’s great players, and expressed confidence that Ham will bring out “another level” in him this season (Twitter link via Goon).

Even Westbrook’s longtime nemesis Patrick Beverley had nothing but praise for his new teammate, suggesting that the rumored animus between the two guards has been overblown and telling Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link) that Westbrook has been his “best friend” on the team since he was traded to L.A. last month.

As we wait to see whether this season goes any smoother for Westbrook than his first season in Los Angeles did, here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Now that James has signed an extension with the team this offseason, the Lakers are willing to trade future draft assets to upgrade the roster, Pelinka confirmed today. However, Pelinka stressed that the team will only get one chance to trade those 2027 and 2029 first-round picks and said that any deal involving those draft assets must clearly improve the club’s title chances (Twitter links via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin).
  • Kendrick Nunn has been cleared for all contact work after missing the entire 2021/22 season with a knee injury, but new additions Troy Brown (back) and Lonnie Walker (ankle) are limited for the time being, Pelinka said today. Walker downplayed his ankle issue, telling reporters that he has been running, jumping, and cutting on it, and is pretty close to being fully healthy (Twitter links via Goon).
  • Dennis Schröder isn’t at training camp yet because he’s working through a visa issue, per Pelinka, but it shouldn’t be too long before he joins the team (Twitter link via Goon).
  • Neither Pelinka nor Ham is worried about the Lakers’ wing defense, tweets Buha. “We should be one of the elite defensive teams in the league,” Ham said. “… We have the personnel for it.”
  • In a full story for The Athletic, Buha poses 10 key questions facing the Lakers, starting with Westbrook’s role and future. Buha also considers the team’s starting lineup battles, where the shooting will come from, and what to realistically expect from LeBron in his 20th NBA season.

Lakers Notes: Nunn, Backcourt, Westbrook, Outlook

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn was recently cleared for increased contact in workouts, league sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Head coach Darvin Ham told reporters, including Buha, that Nunn has primarily been working on individual drills and working out in the weight room.

According to Buha, Ham also said that Nunn, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker are all in consideration for the starting lineup, and the trio will have “notable roles.”

Nunn, who missed all of last season with a knee issue, said he was “100%” healthy back in July, but subsequent reports from Buha have cast a cloud on his status. Still, additional contact was an important hurdle to clear for the 27-year-old, so we’ll see if he’s ready to go once the season starts next month.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • The “combustible” pairing of Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook could provide the spark necessary to ignite the Lakers, or it could blow up in their faces, opines Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California Newsgroup (subscriber link). As Swanson observes, both players are well-known for being stubborn, and their previous run-ins have been well documented. Everyone in L.A. is saying the right things right now, but only their on-court play and actions will prove whether the backcourt pairing will work or not, Swanson adds.
  • Westbrook needs to reinvent his game in order to make things work with the Lakers, argues Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times. Westbrook’s refusal to adjust his playing style was a primary reason why he fit so poorly with the team last season, Hernandez notes. Asking him to make drastic changes this late in his career might not be fair to the former MVP, but he’ll have to play much better defense and make offensive adjustments for the team to find success in year two, Hernandez writes.
  • League insiders are pretty skeptical regarding the Lakers’ outlook for the 2022/23 season, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. One common thread brought up by the insiders was that the defense might not be good enough to hold up the poor shooting of the roster. Only one of the seven insiders Pincus spoke to was confident the Lakers would make the playoffs outright.

Lakers Rumors: THT, Westbrook, Reaves, Nunn, Carmelo

Before the Lakers traded Talen Horton-Tucker to the Jazz in the Patrick Beverley deal, the Pacers expressed interest in the 21-year-old wing, Michael Scotto said in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

As Scotto explains, the Pacers were interested in pursuing a deal that sent Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, and Daniel Theis to the Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and Los Angeles’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. However, L.A. has been reluctant to include both of those first-rounders in any deal not involving Kyrie Irving, and wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about swapping Horton-Tucker for Theis.

Although Horton-Tucker is off the table, Indiana remains one of the two most likely landing spots for Westbrook, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who says a deal involving the Pacers and Westbrook could involve just one of Hield or Turner — the Pacers still have $30MM+ in cap room and could take on Westbrook’s $47MM+ expiring contract without sending out both players. Still, Buha believes that Utah is a more viable destination for Westbrook than Indiana.

Here’s more on the Lakers from the HoopsHype podcast:

  • Scotto has gotten the impression that Austin Reaves and the Lakers have mutual interest in continuing their relationship beyond the 2022/23 season. Reaves will be a restricted free agent next summer and will be seeking a pay bump on his minimum-salary contract.
  • While Kendrick Nunn has been around the Lakers’ facility and has been working out, his ramp-up process has been slowed than anticipated, according to Buha. Nunn said a month ago that he feels 100% healthy, but the acquisition of Beverley gives the team some extra insurance at point guard.
  • A reunion between Carmelo Anthony and the Lakers remains possible, in Buha’s view, but he believes the veteran forward is more likely to land elsewhere. L.A. still needs more shooting, which Anthony could provide, but also wants to continue to upgrade its perimeter defense, which isn’t one of Carmelo’s strengths.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Closing Lineup, Nunn, LeBron

While former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel benched Russell Westbrook late in games a small handful of times last season, new coach Darvin Ham will have more power to do so this season, assuming Westbrook remains on the roster and Ham decides there are better fits in crunch time, says Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Buha expects Westbrook to get opportunities to close out games, but notes that it will depend on his shooting, decision-making, and defense.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are, of course, locks to be part of the Lakers’ “closing” five, and Buha views Austin Reaves as the next-best bet to join that group because he can be a secondary ball-handler. Buha predicts that Juan Toscano-Anderson and Troy Brown will fill out the closing five in instances when Westbrook is on the bench.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Although Kendrick Nunn recently said he feels 100% healthy after missing the entire 2021/22 season due to a knee injury, he has yet to resume playing five-on-five, which will be the “next big hurdle” in his recovery process, Buha writes. The expectation for now is that Nunn will be ready to go for training camp.
  • Buha believes that the Lakers are done adding veteran free agents this offseason, and that any additional roster changes would come via trade. He notes that the team could also be active on the buyout market after the 2023 trade deadline.
  • LeBron James will become eligible on Thursday to sign a contract extension with the Lakers, but Chris Mannix of doesn’t believe James will be in any rush to sign that deal, since he can maintain leverage and keep pressure on the team by taking his time. He could sign that extension at any time up until June 30, 2023.

Kendrick Nunn Says He’s 100% Healthy Heading Into 2022/23

After missing all of the 2021/22 NBA regular season due to a knee injury, Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn says he’s fully recovered and excited about L.A.’s future. Nunn, who picked up his $5.25MM player option for the 2022/23 season last month, made those comments in a conversation with Chris McGee of Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter video link).

“I feel 100% [recovered] to be honest,” Nunn said of his current health status. “Back to where I’m normally playing at a high level.”

After going undrafted out of Oakland in 2018, the 6’2″ guard eventually attracted the attention of the Heat’s front office. Nunn signed with Miami in April 2019, but would not suit up for the franchise until the 2019/20 season. He was named to the 2020 All-Rookie First Team following a breakout Miami run. Nunn is averaging 15.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.9 RPG across his 123 healthy NBA contests, all with the Heat. He holds shooting splits of .458/.364/.881 in those games.

When the Heat opted to pull Nunn’s $4.7MM qualifying offer in the 2021 offseason, Nunn signed a two-year deal with the Lakers as an unrestricted free agent. Los Angeles envisioned him as a key bench scoring contributor for what it expected to be a contending team. However, after sitting out a season – and given his limitations as a defender – it is unclear how much of a contribution Nunn will be able to make this year.

The Lakers, who finished last season with a 33-49 record, could certainly use Nunn’s help should he recover his old form. He is one of just six Los Angeles players set to earn more than the veteran’s minimum this year. Given the value of his current contract as an expiring one-year deal worth more than the minimum, the veteran guard has also been floated as a potential trade chip the Lakers could use to improve their roster.

Here’s more from Nunn’s interview:

  • If he does stick with L.A., it appears Nunn is well on his well to developing a rapport with new Lakers head coach Darvin Ham. Nunn acknowledged that he has already been in frequent contact with the former Bucks assistant. “I talked to him a bunch,” Nunn said. “[We] ran into each other a bunch of times with me working out and him coming in.”
  • Nunn attempted to make the most out of the 2021/22 season despite not being able to play at all:“Last year was a learning process for me. I learned a lot, sitting on the sidelines just watching. The game slowed down a lot for me, I got to see things from a different perspective… Wasn’t expecting to sit out that long.”
  • When asked what Lakers fans could expect following an uneven 2021/22 season that left the team on the outside of the play-in window looking, Nunn alluded to one of last season’s key issues. “They should expect consistency,” Nunn said. “That’s my number one thing. Coming in, night in, night out, and… being consistent on both ends of the floor.”

Latest On Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant‘s trade request increases the chances of a Kyrie Irving trade to the Lakers, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.

A straight Irving for Russell Westbrook swap would not work financially, so the Nets would either have to add another contract or include a third — and perhaps fourth team — for salary-matching purposes. Irving would be a better fit for LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook, providing better spacing offensively.

A potential deal could also lead the Lakers to part with first-rounders in 2027 or later.

If the Nets don’t want Westbrook’s salary, a third team could take that contract, with one of the Lakers’ picks and potentially Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn being involved.

A source told the Athletic that the chances of the Lakers landing Durant in a deal involving Davis is “zero.” Their focus, apparently, is on Irving.

We have more on the Durant/Irving situation:

  • The Nets don’t appear to be interested in Deandre Ayton, sources told John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Thus, a potential trade with the Suns may not include the restricted free agent or it would have to involve a third team.
  • Irving is “fully supportive” of Durant’s trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to RealGM). Irving knew Durant trade request was possible when he opted in to the final year of his contract.
  • Ben Simmons would be the major impediment to the Nuggets getting involved in the Durant sweepstakes, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. League rules stipulate that teams can’t have two players on a rookie scale max extension that have been acquired via trade. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. would both fit that description.
  • In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton raised the possibility of an Ayton-Mikal Bridges deal with the Nets, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. It was unclear at that time whether or not Durant was going to ask for a trade.
  • In the same piece, Alex Schiffer says he’s heard the Nets want multiple All-Stars in any deal for Durant.

Kendrick Nunn Exercises 2022/23 Player Option

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn has elected to pick up his player option for the 2022/23 season, sources tell Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).

We knew this was coming, since Nunn referred to the decision as a “no-brainer” back in April. The option, which will pay Nunn a salary of $5.25MM, has been officially exercised, according to RealGM’s transactions log.

After spending two-plus seasons in Miami, Nunn signed a two-year, $10.25MM deal with the Lakers during the 2021 offseason, but a knee issue sidelined him for the entire ’21/22 campaign. The injury was one of many factors that contributed to Los Angeles’ struggles this past year, as the team didn’t get anything out of the player it used its mid-level exception to sign.

Nunn is expected to be on the trade block this offseason and may never end up appearing in a regular season game for the Lakers. But if he returns and if he’s fully healthy, he could still be an asset in L.A.’s backcourt.

The 26-year-old averaged 15.0 PPG, 3.0 APG, and 2.9 RPG on .458/.364/.881 shooting in 123 games (29.4 MPG) with Miami from 2019-21.

With Nunn’s salary locked in, the Lakers will have four players on guaranteed contracts for next season — LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Nunn. We can safely pencil in Russell Westbrook to that group too, since there’s virtually no chance he’ll turn down his $47MM+ player option. Austin Reaves (non-guaranteed contract) and Stanley Johnson (team option) are also good bets to return, but L.A. will still need to fill out about half its roster, with limited resources to do so.

Our player option decision tracker can be found right here.

Deveney’s Latest: Thybulle, Horton-Tucker, Nunn, Draft

The Bulls have strong interest in young Sixers forward Matisse Thybulle, sources told’s Sean Deveney.

Bulls GM Marc Eversley, a former Philadelphia executive, was instrumental in pushing the Sixers to acquire him in the 2019 draft, Deveney notes.

While Thybulle’s vaccination status stirred some angst within the Sixers organization during the postseason, it was his spotty 3-point shooting that rendered him a non-factor, despite his defensive reputation.

The Sixers could try to create some wiggle room under the luxury tax but that type of trade would likely require a third team.

Here’s more from Deveney:

  • The Lakers tried to package Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn in trades this past season but didn’t get an enticing offer. They could revisit that scenario, even though they’re reluctant to attach their next available first-rounder in 2027. One league exec tossed out the names of Duncan Robinson, Malik Beasley and Christian Wood as the type of player they could get in return.
  • The Magic won’t trade the top pick unless they get the No. 2 or 3 pick as part of the package, but the Thunder and Rockets are open for business regarding the other top three selections.

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Wall, Monk, THT, Nunn, Vogel, James

Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explore potential offseason moves for the Lakers in their latest podcast. Scotto asked three different league executives for their opinions regarding Russell Westbrook‘s trade value, with slightly different results.

One said he had no interest in acquiring Westbrook whatsoever. The second executive called Westbrook’s contract “terrible” and said it’s viewed very negatively around the league, and would only be dealt for multiple other salary dumps.

The third executive was a little more circumspect in his assessment, noting that Westbrook’s $47MM player option for 2022/23 is likely to be perceived as a negative asset, but certain teams might take it on in order to get rid of long-term contracts.

Gozlan doesn’t think the Lakers’ front office will consider using the waive-and-stretch provision on Westbrook, considering the team will finally be clear of Luol Deng‘s dead money cap hit ($5MM) this summer. Teams might be interested trading for Westbrook if he indicates he’d accept a buyout agreement for a slightly discounted rate — perhaps $5-10MM less — which Gozlan believes is the high-end of the range he might earn as a free agent.

Both Gozlan and Scotto think that the framework for a potential Westbrook/John Wall swap will be revisited this summer, with one GM telling Scotto that he thinks the Rockets guard can still be a high-level backup in the NBA, or even a fringe starter.

Here are some more Lakers rumors:

  • Scotto queried four executives to gauge the value of unrestricted free agent Malik Monk, and they projected his next deal to be in the range of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.4MM) to the non-taxpayer mid-level ($10MM). As of now, the most the Lakers can offer Monk is the taxpayer mid-level.
  • Expect Los Angeles to again dangle Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.26MM), Kendrick Nunn ($5.25MM) and draft compensation to improve the roster, says Scotto.
  • League executives agree that former coach Frank Vogel was the scapegoat for the team’s disastrous season, with one noting that the well-respected Vogel should “be able to pick his spot as a high-level assistant if that’s something he wants to do,” according to Scotto.
  • LeBron James‘ future in L.A. is the biggest story surrounding the franchise, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. James is eligible for a two-year, $97MM extension in August, which could secure his place on the roster through 2025. However, sources at Klutch Sports say that the agency and James have yet to discuss the star’s future, per Pincus.