Kendrick Nunn took less money in free agency to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. The draw of joining a so-called “superteam” and competing for a championship in 2021 was his stated reason for the move.
The former Miami Heat guard inked a a team-friendly two-year deal worth an estimated $10.25 million (via Spotrac). Nunn looks to be a key bench piece for the Lakers, possibly the backup point guard behind Russell Westbrook. There’s no denying that he landed in a perfect situation.
But Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum – the newly elected president of the NBA Players’ Association – believes something shady prompted Nunn’s decision. He thinks Miami purposefully waited for the “market to dry up” before rescinding their qualifying offer.
Remember, Nunn was a restricted free agent and the Heat could have matched any offer he received in free agency. They didn’t. Instead, Miami executed a sign-and-trade for Kyle Lowry and kicked Nunn to the curb. Did they manipulate the system and cost Nunn more money? There was a feeling going into free agency that Nunn would earn upwards of $15 million per year. McCollum told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski the following:
He [Kendrick Nunn] was gonna be a free agent. They basically waited until the money dried up, right? You correct me if I’m wrong. Have you [Wojnarowski] seen this happening in the league and not being discussed at all? Where they talk about players forcing their way out, player movement. But then what about the manipulation that goes into some of these situations where teams are waiting for the market to dry up before they release a player’s rights.
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Precious Achiuwa Holds Miami Charity Event
Precious Achiuwa, along with Goran Dragic, was part of the sign-and-trade that sent Kyle Lowry to South Beach. The second-year big man saw limited minutes in his rookie year, but flashed in qualifying games for Team Nigeria prior to the Tokyo Olympics. He averaged 8.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game.
Achiuwa was taken with the 20th overall pick by the Heat in 2020 and must have enjoyed his brief time in South Florida. The 6-foot-9 big man recently held a back-to-school event in Miami’s Gibson Park where he gave out 100 backpacks and school supplies to area school children (via Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald).
Nunn Re-Uniting with Childhood Friend
Nunn’s departure to Los Angeles has caused an impromptu reunion with an old childhood friend, too. He and Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker attended Simeon Career Academy High School in Chicago and have known each other for a decade. Despite Nunn being six years older than Horton-Tucker, the two would often connect when they went back home to Chicago and meet up for workouts. Now Nunn and Horton-Tucker are teammates on the Lakers.
“When we went our separate ways throughout college and things like that we would come back to Chicago and connect,” Nunn said, via Lakers Nation. “Maybe work out with each other and stay connected. When I signed with the Lakers, I told him I’m making that move and he was excited for me so we get to play alongside each other and create some havoc throughout the league.”