Ex-Heat Guard Reveals Why He Took Less Money to Join Lakers

Kendrick Nunn

Getty Kendrick Nunn #25 of the Miami Heat shoots the ball in the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 11, 2021.

Former Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn was going to get a boatload of high-priced offers in free agency. Everyone knew that dating back to last year’s trade deadline. So it was a tad surprising to hear the 26-year-old admit he turned down less money to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nunn was Rookie-of-the-Year runner-up in 2020 who started 111 games at point guard during his two seasons in South Beach. He inked a two-year, $10 million contract (per multiple reports) with the Lakers that includes a player option in the second year.

The writing was on the wall for Nunn after the Heat signed Kyle Lowry and yanked their qualifying offer. Still, Nunn decided to take less money from other teams in free agency for the chance to “be a sponge” to LeBron James and compete for a championship ring with the Lakers. The decision was a no-brainer, according to Nunn.

“L.A. would be appealing to anyone, honestly speaking,” Nunn said at his introductory press conference, via Silver Screen & Roll. “But just that chance to go out there and win a ring. A good chance, a great chance to win a ring. I look at the roster around and I’m one of the younger guys, so I’m going to be a sponge to a lot of these guys in the locker room and just continue to grow and develop my game as well.”

Nunn hinted that he tried to work something out with the Heat, but the interest wasn’t mutual. Lowry’s looming presence in Miami’s revamped backcourt probably played a huge factor there.

“Obviously free agency was in place,” Nunn said, “and obviously we couldn’t get that deal worked out with the Heat, my previous team, and I signed here with the Lakers.”

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Ex-Kansas Guard Gunning for Two-Way Contract

Former Kansas University combo guard Marcus Garrett is making a strong case for a two-way contract with the Miami Heat. The 6-foot-5 rookie is averaging 10.5 points, 2.5 assists, 6.5 rebounds in two California Classic contests.

He’s been even more impressive on the defensive end where he has swiped 5.0 steals per game and could easily earn one of the team’s two available two-way contracts.

“Undrafted Kansas guard Marcus Garrett continued to impress as a member of the Heat’s summer league team, especially defensively, and has emerged as a clear candidate for one of the team’s two-way contracts,” said Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

A two-way contract would allow Garrett to bounce between the Heat and their G League affiliate, Sioux City Skyforce during the 2021-22 campaign. Garrett was named 2020 Naismith and ESPN.com Defensive Player of the Year at Kansas while winning 2020 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Heat Beat Nuggets in Summer League Play

Miami (1-0) defeated the Denver Nuggets 97-77 on Sunday in the Las Vegas Summer League. R.J. Nembhard scored a team-high 18 points for the Heat, with KZ Okpala and Max Strus adding 13 points apiece. Garrett also had another strong showing en route to 10 points.

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