One of the more intriguing signings the Los Angeles Lakers made last offseason was Kendrick Nunn. The former Miami Heat guard averaged 15.0 points a game over his first two years on a very good team. It was a surprise when he decided to jump ship to the Lakers. Unfortunately, he ended up being the team’s most disappointing signing.
Nunn suffered a bone bruise in his right knee shortly before the season started, which ended up sidelining him for the entire year. Bone bruises typically don’t last that long and Nunn was speculated to return throughout the season. He never ended up playing so the Lakers didn’t get to see him play.
Nunn had a player option heading into next season that would pay him $5.2 million. Considering he missed all of last season, the guard knew his market wouldn’t be great and wants to run it back in Los Angeles. According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Nunn has officially decided to opt into his contract for next season.
Nunn said that this was the plan after the season so the news doesn’t come as a surprise to the team.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Will Nunn Actually Be Back With the Lakers?
Though Nunn is tied to the Lakers for next season from a contract perspective, there’s nothing stopping the team from trading him. He was supposed to be an important piece for the team last season but never got on the court. It’s difficult for Los Angeles to evaluate him without having tape on how he played with LeBron James and company.
That said, it’s hard to imagine he’ll have a robust trade market. It’s one thing for a player to suffer a season-ending injury like a torn ACL. It’s another thing for a bone bruise to sideline a player for an entire year. It’s certainly a strange situation that other teams might not want anything to do with. Signs point to Nunn likely starting the season with the Lakers but there’s a strong chance he won’t finish it there.
Can Nunn Still Help the Lakers?
Opinions on Nunn are low amongst the Lakers fan base right now due to the bone bruise issue. It’s hard to have allegiance to a player who hasn’t played. However, Nunn is a good player. As noted earlier, he averaged 15.0 points a game over his career and made 38.1% of his threes the last time he played. For a point guard, he’s not much of a distributor as he only averages 3.0 assists in his career.
Nunn is a solid defender and only 26. Two things the Lakers need are defense and youth. If he had stayed healthy last season, he may have been one of the team’s most important players. Perhaps he even would have even taken over Russell Westbrook’s role as starting point guard. There were calls to bench the former MVP for much of last season but the team didn’t have an adequate replacement. Nunn has every reason to put together a great season as he’ll be a free agent in a year so it might be too early to give up on him now.