Heat Guard Is Top Target to Get Snatched by Division Rival: 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.

Immediately after Miami Heat were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks during the first round of playoffs, rumors and reports concerning the franchise’s free agency moves this summer flooded the media.

The Heat’s roster stayed mostly intact following last year’s playoff run in the bubble, but with only five players with guaranteed contracts for next season, the team’s lineup will soon look vastly different.

One of the biggest decisions Miami must make involves guard Kendrick Nunn, who becomes a restricted free agent this summer, and according to SNY‘s NBA Insider Ian Begley, the New York Knicks are interested in snatching him up.

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Begley said, “Nunn, per sources, is among the guards who have been on the Knicks’ radar as they consider their offseason plans. Nunn shot 38.1% from beyond the arc on nearly six attempts per game this season and shot it remarkably well in the second half of the season.”

Comparing Nunn to Terry Rozier, Begley believes the soon-to-be 26-year-old guard is primed for a breakout season. Rozier “averaged nine points per game in his last season with the Celtics before signing a three-year, $56 million deal with Charlotte. Rozier’s role increased. His production also increased. The opposing team thought Nunn, who averaged 14.6 points per game last year, could follow a similar path if his opportunities increased.”

The Heat Have Until August 1 to Extend Nunn a $4.7 Million Qualifying Offer

Kendrick Nunn

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

Nunn, who 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, is one of Miami’s undrafted success stories, and he’s expected to net contract offers in the $15 million range this summer.

Miami Herald’s Anthony laid out how the Heat must deal with his impending free agency:

The Heat has until Aug. 1 to extend Nunn a $4.7 million qualifying offer, which would make him a restricted free agent and Miami will have the right to match any outside offer sheet. The Heat could pull that qualifying offer to decrease Nunn’s cap hold from $4.7 million to $1.7 million, but Nunn would then become an unrestricted free agent and Miami would not be able to match any outside offers to retain him.

It’s unclear how far Miami will go in order to retain Nunn, and according to Bleacher Report‘s Grant Hughes, Nunn should the No. 1 pick-up for the Indiana Pacers.

“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.”

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