Los Angeles Lakers Steal Miami Heat Guard in Free Agency : Report

Kendrick Nunn

Getty Kendrick Nunn #25 of the Miami Heat tries to keep control of the ball in the first half against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 23, 2021.

After a flurry of activity on the first day of free agency, the Miami Heat continue to make tough decisions on which players to trade, sign, or release for the 2021-22 NBA season.

Months of speculation focused on whether or not the Heat would be able to afford to keep both Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn leading up to the offseason, and as insurance, Miami extended $4.7 million qualifying offers to both players.

While the Heat offered Robinson a five-year $90 million contract, they reversed course on Nunn, who was the 2020 runner-up to being named Rookie of the Year. The Athletic’s Shams Charania was first to break the news on Tuesday that Miami rescinded their qualifying offer to the 26-year-old guard.

A few hours later, Nunn inked a deal to take his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers, per Shams Charania. “Free agent guard Kendrick Nunn has agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, source tells ESPN. Deal includes a player option. Nunn turned down significantly more money to chase a title with the Lakers,” Charania tweeted.

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“The Miami Heat have pulled the qualifying offer on Kendrick Nunn, making him an unrestricted free agent, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium,” Charania tweeted.

Like Robinson, Nunn stands as one of the Heat’s most successful undrafted players. He started in 44 games for the Heat this season while averaging 14.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists during the regular season.

The Heat No Longer Have to Match Nunn’s Outside Offers

Nunn is predicted to receive contract offers that would pay him roughly $11.5 million per year, which the Heat can’t afford after landing Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors, resigning Robinson in a record-breaking deal, and nabbing P.J. Tucker from the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Athletic‘s John Hollinger predicted that if Miami was finally able to land Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors, that the Heat would have to let Nunn go.

Hollinger surmised, “Miami’s guard presents an interesting case because his cap hold is only [$4.7 million], thus giving the Heat a fairly strong incentive to use the rest of their cap room and then re-sign Kendrick Nunn.

“On the other hand, one of the Heat’s primary targets is likely Lowry, and it would seemingly make little sense to pay Nunn starter-level money to be his caddy; using cap space and then paying both Nunn and Duncan Robinson (who has the same low cap hold) could also vault Miami into the luxury tax.”

Nunn Is Expected to Get Offers from Pacers, Knicks & More

Nunn has proved himself to be a valuable asset and should receive plenty of offers from other teams, and according to Bleacher Report‘s Grant Hughes, the 26-year-old guard won’t have trouble finding a new home in the NBA.

Hughes reported that the Indiana Pacers should focus on stealing Nunn away. “Nunn is more of a combo guard, which would work just fine with [Malcolm] Brogdon, [Caris] LeVert and TJ Warren all capable of orchestrating the offense,” Hughes wrote. “Ideally a backup, Nunn’s comfort on and off the ball would make it easy to blend him into starter-led groups when not running the second unit. At 14.6 points per game on 59.6% true shooting with the Miami Heat in 2020-21, Nunn validated his status as a quality rotation scorer at the guard spot.”

SNY‘s NBA Insider Ian Begley reported that the New York Knicks are also interested in acquiring the Oakland alum.

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