Kendrick Nunn’s time with the Miami Heat is over.
The guard has signed a 2-year deal with the Lakers according to Stadium’s Shams Charania.
The deal is reportedly worth $10-million.
The Heat originally had the right to match any offer for Nunn, but earlier Tuesday, they took away his qualifying offer. That meant Nunn was no longer a restricted free agent.
Nunn was originally slated to be a restricted free agent this offseason. The Heat had his Bird Rights and, had they prioritized him, could have matched any offer sheet given to him. However, their other offseason moves changed their plans. After acquiring Kyle Lowry through a sign-and-trade and P.J. Tucker with the nontaxpayer mid-level exception, they triggered a hard cap at the $143 million apron. Keeping Nunn, under those circumstances, would have been difficult and almost certainly would have meant paying the luxury tax, so the Heat pulled his qualifying offer and made him an unrestricted free agent. After missing out on Patty Mills, their original target with the taxpayer mid-level exception, the Lakers pounced on Nunn instead.
Nunn averaged 15 points per game in two seasons with the Heat, and last season, he improved as a 3-point shooter by hitting 38.1 percent of his attempts. Adding shooting has been the priority for the Lakers this offseason. They had already signed Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony, Kent Bazemore and Malik Monk to minimum contracts for that exact purpose. Nunn will be the highest-paid out of that group.
He also gives the Lakers a badly needed infusion of youth alongside Monk. Bazemore, Ariza, Anthony and Ellington are all 32 or older. LeBron James is 36 and Russell Westbrook is 33. The Lakers will still be one of the oldest teams in the NBA, but the combination of Nunn, Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker gives them three young guards with the upside to improve during the season.
With the mid-level exception spent and the Lakers now up to 13 players (though only 12 are guaranteed as Alfonzo McKinnie can be waived at any time), the bulk of their re-tooling appears to be complete. The Lakers have eschewed the defensive identity that won them the 2020 championship in favor of a more explosive offense with shooting meant to supplement new addition Russell Westbrook. It’s a bold approach, and only time will tell if it pays off.
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