One of the most intriguing players the Los Angeles Lakers signed in the offseason was Kendrick Nunn. The former Miami Heat guard was never linked to the team but was a solid addition. He averaged 15.0 points a game during his two seasons with the Heat and is capable of playing some defense. He was expected to be a key contributor for the Lakers this season.
Nunn has yet to play in any of the team’s 23 games season with a bone bruise in his knee. Fortunately, it’s an injury that he should recover from at some point this season but nobody could’ve foreseen that he’d be out this long. Nunn is one of the Lakers’ best trade pieces due to his contract and age but it’s going to be difficult to trade him if he doesn’t play.
One team that may be willing to cut a deal with the Lakers is the New York Knicks. Kemba Walker is a four-time All-Star but is having his worst season as a professional. He’s averaging a career-low 11.7 points a game and just got removed from New York’s rotation. David Vertsberger of SNY believes that the Lakers swapping Nunn for Walker could make a lot of sense.
“A better place to look might be the Lakers, reeling from a host of injuries and getting little spacing from their point guard position,” Vertsberger wrote. “It’s a realistic destination for older, talented players known for their former glory and the Knicks should be happy with getting Kendrick Nunn back as a flier.”
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Would Walker Be a Fit With Lakers?
Any interest in Walker would be based on what he’s done in the past and not what he’s doing now. He is likely done being an All-Star as he hasn’t been nearly dynamic since leaving the Charlotte Hornets in 2019. However, he could be an intriguing option for the Lakers.
His contract is reasonable as he’s only making around $9 million a year. That’d make a Nunn-Walker swap pretty easy to pull off. Nunn is younger and has more upside but the Lakers have shown that they like star power. That said, Walker is not a better player than Nunn right now. The latter is a much better defender and actually has a better career 3-point average at 36.4% compared to 36.1%. There’s no reason the Lakers should make this deal.
Frank Vogel Believes That Not Having Nunn Has Held Lakers Back
The start of the current NBA season hasn’t been great for the Lakers. The team is 12-11, which is significantly worse than even the biggest pessimist could’ve foreseen. Injuries have played a role in why the Lakers have struggled. Head coach Frank Vogel is confident that the team will improve significantly when they get healthy.
“Not having Trevor [Ariza] and Kendrick has not enabled us to see the way we’re really going to look like when those guys are available,” Vogel said last week, via Silver Screen & Roll.
“Not having Talen [Horton-Tucker] for a large part of the season also,” Vogel continued. “Then obviously having LeBron [James] be out of the lineup, and [Anthony Davis], and the disjointed nature of that, we haven’t really been able to see what the vision of this roster is going to look like. We’ve seen some of it because of who we’ve had in, but that’s still to be determined.”