Lakers News: Latest On Kendrick Nunn

L.A.’s mystery man has a mystery recovery timeline.

When he first signed a two-year, $10.25 million deal with your Los Angeles Lakers in 2021-22, 6’2″ combo guard Kendrick Nunn was expected to play a big role with Los Angeles. After all, he was one of just five Lakers signed to a contract worth more than a minimum deal. Beyond the team’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and (oof) Russell Westbrook, the now-gone Talen Horton-Tucker was the only other Laker earning more than the minimum. Unfortunately, a bone bruise suffered in the preseason kept him sidelined all year.

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This year, Nunn is something of an unknown commodity. If healthy, he could prove to be a helpful scorer and shooter off the bench and round out L.A.’s backcourt rotation behind probable starting point guard Patrick Beverley (sorry Russ) and, as of now at least, either Lonnie Walker IV or Austin Reaves as the starting shooting guard. Nunn’s prospective return was so exciting for team owner Jeanie Buss that she mentioned him in the same breath with LeBron James and Anthony Davis while completely disregarding Westbrook in a recent interview. Although to be fair, Buss said in a second, even more recent interview that Westbrook was the “best” player on the team last season, before her interviewer essentially talked her into walking it back.

Through his 123 healthy career games with the Heat, Nunn holds averages of 15.0 points, three assists and 2.9 rebounds, with a slash line of 458/.364/.881. As a three-point shooter who can handle, Nunn can be a useful reserve point guard and break-glass-in-case-of-emergency starter when the 34-year-old Beverley misses his usual 20ish games.

But will Kendrick Nunn be healthy enough for even that assignment.

Last month, the 27-year-old University of Oakland product relayed to Chris McGee of Spectrum SportsNet that he was completely healed from the bone bruise in his knee that sidelined him for his inaugural L.A. season.

Yesterday, however, The Athletic’s Jovan Buha told HoopsHype’s Michael Scott on the latest HoopsHype Podcast that, while Nunn has been ramping up his shooting drills and working out around the Lakers’ El Segundo practice facilities, his has progressed “slower than anticipated.” 

If Nunn isn’t ready in time for the preseason this year, could that cost him a spot in the team’s guard rotation? That’s contingent on a few factors, namely the fate of Russell Westbrook and what might possibly return to Los Angeles in a trade for the former All-Star.

Nunn’s L.A. tenure continues to be a rocky one. Here’s hoping that, once he does return to the hardwood, he can be an impact player for a team desperate for outside shooting help and passing touch.

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