Kendrick Nunn

Lakers To Sign Kendrick Nunn

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After beginning the free agency period as a restricted free agent, Nunn had his $4.7MM qualifying offer rescinded by the Heat once it became clear that there wouldn’t be room under the team’s hard cap to fit in a new deal for the 6’2″ guard.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

Heat Extend QOs To Robinson, Nunn, Vincent, Strus

The Heat have extended qualifying offers to Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, making the quartet restricted free agents, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets.

The QOs for Robinson and Nunn are worth $4.736MM apiece, while Vincent’s QO is $1.67MM and Strus’ would be another two-way deal. Vincent’s offer includes an $84K guarantee as a two-way player over the last two seasons, while Strus’ guarantee would be $50K, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes.

Robinson will be one of the hottest restricted free agents on the market, and Nunn will also likely attract interest from multiple suitors. Miami will have to right to match offer sheets on both of those wing players.

The Heat still need to decide whether to exercise their options on the contracts of Goran Dragic ($19.4MM), Andre Iguodala ($15MM) and Omer Yurtseven ($1.5MM) by 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Heat Rumors: Lowry, Herro, Dinwiddie, Beal, Dragic, Ariza

The Heat will have interest in Kyle Lowry in free agency, but they’ll face plenty of competition for the veteran point guard, who will have a high asking price, according to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. A source in touch with Lowry tells the Miami Herald that the 35-year-old is expected to seek a guaranteed three-year contract worth $30MM per year.

Lowry may not ultimately achieve that goal, but he seems likely to get at least $25MM per year, per Jackson and Chiang. The Herald duo suggests a reunion with the Raptors isn’t considered particularly likely for Lowry, but he’s expected to draw interest from the Sixers, Lakers, Mavericks, and Pelicans, as well as the Heat and Knicks.

As Jackson and Chiang outline, the Heat could theoretically open up enough cap room to offer Lowry about $85MM over three years if they waive or renounce several veterans who are free agents or who have non-guaranteed salaries. They could retain RFAs Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn in that scenario, but would otherwise be limited to the room exception and minimum-salary contracts to fill out the roster.

A sign-and-trade for Lowry is another possibility and wouldn’t necessarily require the Heat to part ways with so many veterans, but the Raptors would have to approve the compensation in any deal. Miami remains unenthusiastic about including Tyler Herro in any sign-and-trade for Lowry, according to The Herald.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • If things don’t work out with Lowry, count on Spencer Dinwiddie to be among the Heat’s top targets, according to Jackson and Chiang. Chris Paul could also be an option for Miami if he opts out, though that’s likely a longer shot.
  • If Bradley Beal were to request a trade, the Heat are among the teams that would appeal to him, per The Miami Herald. However, Beal isn’t available for now and Miami wouldn’t be able to offer many draft assets if he does land on the trade block.
  • Goran Dragic isn’t likely to return to the Heat on his $19MM+ team option, but the club would have interest in re-signing him at a lower price point, according to Jackson and Chiang. Miami would also be interested in re-signing free agent forward Trevor Ariza.

Florida Notes: Heat, Magic, P. Hardaway, Atkinson

The Bucks‘ run to the NBA Finals might reveal what the Heat lacked this season, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. In addition to perpetual All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and occasional All-Star swingman Khris Middleton, Milwaukee added borderline All-Star guard Jrue Holiday to the mix this season. Holiday’s excellent two-way play and ball-handling abilities helped take Milwaukee to the next level.

The Heat, on the other hand, have two stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but currently lack a third two-way threat. Winderman notes that promising second-year guard Tyler Herro could become that player, but cautions that a healthy star-studded Nets team will most likely be the class of the East going forward, and that Miami must be ready with reinforcements.

There’s more out of the Sunshine State:

  • After the Heat were swept out of the first round by the Bucks, it seemed apparent that offseason roster changes would be coming. Now, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel suggests that exactly what transpires could be predicated on how certain timing elements shake out. The club’s front office, led by team president Pat Riley, will have to decide on expensive team options for former All-Stars Goran Dragic, 35, and Andre Iguodala, 37, on August 1. The club holds a $15MM team option on Iguodala and a $19.4MM option on Dragic. If the club wants to use its 2028 first-round pick in any trade, it will have to wait until after the July 29 draft. If the Heat want to use role players Duncan Robinson or Kendrick Nunn as sign-and-trade fodder, the team will only be able to do so after August 6.
  • Though he was up for the head coaching position with the Magic, Memphis head coach (and former four-time Orlando All-Star) Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway never seemed like a leading contender for the gig, opines Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. Hardaway withdrew his name from consideration and opted to remain in the NCAA for now.
  • Former Nets head coach and current Clippers assistant coach Kenny Atkinson, who oversaw a successful rebuild in Brooklyn, appears to not be one of the major candidates for the Magic head coaching job, writes Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel. Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr., Spurs assistant Becky Hammon, Suns assistant Willie Green, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and three assistants of now-former Magic coach Steve Clifford all will interview or have already interviewed for the job. Hays wonders why Atkinson’s name hasn’t also made the cut, given his track record as a solid coach adept at developing young talent.

Knicks Notes: Lillard, Rose, Free Agents, Vildoza

The Knicks should be at the front of the line if the Trail Blazers decide to trade Damian Lillard, contends Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. Lillard is one of the most popular Portland players ever and has been a fixture in the city since he was drafted in 2012. But he will turn 31 in July and could bring a huge collection of assets in return if the Blazers opt to rebuild.

Lillard is owed more than $127MM over the next three seasons and has a $48.8MM player option for 2024/25. He would provide an instant solution to New York’s long-running point guard problem and would bring some star power to the franchise. He’s still as explosive as ever as a scorer, averaging 28.8 points per game this season and shooting 39.1% from three-point range.

The Knicks have the assets to make a deal work, including five first-round picks over the next three years, Vaccaro adds. They also have young talent to offer, such as rookies Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, second-year guard RJ Barrett and third-year center Mitchell Robinson.

There’s more from New York:

  • If Lillard isn’t available, the Knicks will pursue other options to upgrade their backcourt this summer, and Ian Begley of SNY.TV hears that Derrick Rose‘s performance after being acquired from the Pistons will affect their strategy. If they can re-sign Rose, the Knicks will be less likely to spend big on another veteran point guard and may turn to restricted free agents such as Devonte’ Graham, Lonzo Ball or Kendrick Nunn. New York talked to the Pelicans about a possible Ball trade before the March deadline, but there’s not a consensus on him among the front office, according to Begley.
  • With their playoff run over, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau met with newly signed guard Luca Vildoza on Thursday and watched him in a workout, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Former Knicks guard and current Timberwolves assistant coach Pablo Prigioni believes his fellow Argentinian has a bright NBA future. “(Vildoza is) really, really good,’’ Prigioni said. “I really like him. Very talented, got a great shot and knows how to pass. I’m really excited to see Luca next season with the Knicks. Tom’s going to like him.’
  • Thibodeau held a long meeting with his players on Thursday and decided to delay the traditional player evaluation conferences for about two weeks, Berman adds in a separate story. A source said Berman wants his players to unwind from the stress that COVID-19 brought to the season.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Ariza, Nunn, Robinson

Unsurprisingly, Heat forward/center Bam Adebayo learned on Thursday that he isn’t a finalist for either the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.

That’s notable not because Adebayo had a realistic shot at either award, but because the value of his five-year, maximum-salary extension would have risen to $195.6MM if he had won the MVP award or $179.3MM if he had been named Defensive Player of the Year (based on a 3% salary cap increase)

The value of that five-year extension could still technically increase to $185.8MM if Adebayo is named to the All-NBA First Team. However, that’s not going to happen, so the Heat can safely pencil in $163MM as the projected five-year amount of the big man’s new contract, which begins in 2021/22.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Given how important Jae Crowder‘s contributions were in last year’s playoff run to the NBA Finals, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald wonders if Trevor Ariza, acquired during the season, can play a similar role this time around. “We might be similar players but we have different roles and different attributes about ourselves,” Ariza said. “To say I can come in and do what he did would probably be disrespectful to what he brings to teams. I’m my own individual player. I would like to think what I do is good.”
  • The book is now closed on the Heat’s 2015 acquisition of Goran Dragic, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel observes. While surrendering two future first-round picks for Dragic was a bit of a risk, the 2018 first-rounder (Zhaire Smith) had little impact and this year’s pick will fall outside of the lottery, at No. 18. It’ll go to Houston or Oklahoma City depending on the lottery results.
  • Of the Heat’s two key RFAs-to-be, Kendrick Nunn would probably benefit more than Duncan Robinson from a strong performance in the postseason, Winderman says in a separate story for The Sun Sentinel. As Winderman explains, Robinson has already established his value over the last two seasons, while Nunn’s contributions have been less consistent, and the aftereffects of COVID-19 limited his role in last year’s postseason.

Kendrick Nunn Will Draw Serious Interest In Free Agency

At least two teams plan to aggressively pursue Heat point guard Kendrick Nunn in free agency this summer, Alex Kennedy of Basketball News reports.

Nunn is expected to be a restricted free agent, assuming Miami extends a $4.736MM qualifying offer after the season. Nunn would then have to sign an offer sheet and the Heat would have the right to match the offer in that scenario.

Several teams were looking to make a deal for Nunn prior to last month’s trade deadline, Kennedy adds.

Nunn has dropped out of coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation at times this season but he’s played a major role with Victor Oladipo sidelined by a knee injury until sitting out Monday’s game against Chicago. He averaged 19.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 3.6 APG over the past five games while making half of his 3-point attempts. Overall, he’s averaging 14.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 3.2 APG in 29.0 MPG while starting 35 of 47 games.

He was the runner-up to Ja Morant for Rookie of the Year honors last season, averaging 15.3 PPG and 3.3 APG in 67 starts.

A handful of teams will have significant cap room this summer, which should work in the favor of restricted free agents such as Nunn, Kennedy notes.

When Miami initially acquired Oladipo, it was assumed the Heat would prioritize him in free agency. However, Oladipo’s knee and leg woes could convince the Heat to make more of an effort to hold onto Nunn.

Eastern Notes: Grant, Heat, Jackson, Oladipo, Nunn

Pistons forward Jerami Grant isn’t unfamiliar with lottery finishes, but he feels his current situation is much different from his team’s situation in Philadelphia earlier in his career, writes Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press.

Grant spent just over two seasons with the Sixers from 2014-17, teams that were mostly known for focusing on the future and rebuilding.

“Nah, it’s not the same,” Grant said. “It’s a lot different. It’s not a rebuild, as (general manager) Troy (Weaver) always says. It’s not three or four years into the future. We’re looking forward to doing something big next year. So no, it doesn’t have the same feeling as there.”

The Pistons currently own the league’s third-worst record at 18-43, putting them last in the East. For his part, Grant has averaged 22.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 52 games this season, shooting 43% from the floor and 35% from three-point range.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Heat could be stumbling toward the play-in tournament barring a final late-season push, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes in his latest “Ask Ira” mailbag. Miami has won four of its last five games, but the team still holds just the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference at 32-29. The Heat have upcoming games against the Bulls on Monday, Spurs on Wednesday and Cavaliers on Saturday.
  • James L. Edwards III of The Athletic examines how the Pistons turned two-way player Frank Jackson into a promising sharpshooter. Jackson is averaging 8.4 points per game on 41% from deep — mostly playing off the bench this season. “Being able to play consistently, every time I step on the court I feel I get a little better,” Jackson said. “It’s nice to have teammates who make the nice reads and make the right play. This is my fourth year in the league. I know what it takes to stay ready.”
  • Heat guard Victor Oladipo could have to beat out Kendrick Nunn for playing time should he return this season, Winderman examines in another “Ask Ira” mailbag. Nunn has stepped up his play since re-entering the team’s rotation, averaging 14 points per game on 47% shooting this season.