After the Los Angeles Lakers’ blockbuster acquisition of Russell Westbrook last summer, they were left without any cap space, needing to fill out the roster with minimum players.
They did have a taxpayer midlevel exception for around $6 million annually at their disposal though, which they chose to use on Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn.
While Nunn was expected to fill a big role for the Lakers as a combo guard who can score and defend, he ultimately never got to show off those skills as he suffered a bone bruise in his knee during the preseason that kept him out for the entire 2021-22 season.
Nunn’s deal includes a player option for the 2022-23 season, and with the deadline looming, Dave McMenamin of ESPN is reporting that he has decided to pick that up:
Kendrick Nunn, as expected, has elected to opt in for his contract with the Lakers for next season, sources tell ESPN.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 21, 2022
This news does not come as a surprise as Nunn said during his exit interview that he was planning to pick up the player option to return to the Lakers after sitting out his entire first season in the organization.
If healthy, Nunn could provide value to the Lakers in 2022-23 whether as a starter or off the bench. He also now has an expiring contract of around $5.25 million. which could potentially be used as a trade chip to help match salaries.
Regardless though, for Nunn to provide any value to the Lakers whether it be as a player or trade piece would be a huge boost considering the team’s lack of cap space and assets again this summer. He said at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season that his knee was almost healthy and he was expecting to be ready for training camp this fall.
Hornets’ interest in Westbrook reportedly is ‘real’
If the Lakers want to make any serious roster upgrades this summer, they will have to find a way to trade Russell Westbrook and his expiring $47 million salary in exchange for multiple role players that can fit well alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
One potential option is the Charlotte Hornets as they have some long-term contracts they may want to get out from underneath from such as Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier.
While the Hornets may not have interest in Westbrook the player, their interest in getting a deal done is believed to be ‘real’ considering they have to pay free agent Mile Bridges this summer.
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