Los Angeles Lakers combo guard Kendrick Nunn has decided to pick up his $5.25 million player option for the 2022-23 NBA season.
The Lakers used their taxpayer midlevel exception on the 26-year old last summer, signing Nunn to a two-year, $10.3 million contract (he reportedly turned down more money for a chance to compete in Los Angeles). The Lakers expected Nunn to be a major contributor as a swingman/scorer/backup point guard, but Nunn was forced to miss the entire campaign with a lingering bone bruise in his right knee, which he suffered during the preseason.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin first reported the news, though it’s a wholly unexpected development. At his exit interview press conference, Nunn did not hesitate when asked if he would pick up his option.
“Knowing I just took this entire year off, it’s a no-brainer for me to opt-in,” he told reporters. Nunn added that his bone bruise was the result of “wear and tear” from “over-training.” The Lakers repeatedly expected Nunn to return, but he suffered setbacks each time he ramped up his basketball activities. By March, the team grew increasingly pessimistic about his ability to contribute before the end of the season.
Over the first two years of his career, the 6’2 guard (and Klutch client) averaged 15.0 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.6 rebounds for the Miami Heat while shooting 45.8% from the field and 36.4% from three-point range.
Beyond Nunn, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wenyen Gabriel, Austin Reaves, and Stanley Johnson are projected to run it back with the Lakers, though Nunn, THT, and, of course, Westbrook, are trade candidates.