Add to Cart: Lakers get scoring punch with Nunn bargain signing

Published September 4, 2021, 1:20 PMMiguel Flores

As a solid offensive option off the bench, Kendrick Nunn gives the Los Angeles Lakers bang-for-the-buck value.

Kendrick Nunn averaged 14.6 points, on 49 percent shooting, for the Miami Heat last season.

How many times have you received a package from Shopee or Lazada and had no recollection of what you bought and when and why you bought it? Add to Cart is a series on some of the low-key moves and underrated deals that NBA teams made during this offseason that fans might have overlooked or forgotten.

The Deal

The Los Angeles Lakers, after trading for Russell Westbrook and signing other guys that were superstars in 2012, shrewdly copped Kendrick Nunn with a two-year, $10.25 million deal that includes a player option for the second year.

The Steal

It's important to note that this deal was announced during a flurry of Lakers offseason moves, which included saying goodbye to the GOAT/Handsome Woody Harrelson/Damian Lillard stopper Alex Caruso. It was an emotional chain of events that the rest of the Lakers' geriatric signings couldn’t curb.

But Nunn could very well be the Lakers' second-best guard next to Brodie if he can build off his up-and-down season with Miami. Nunn reportedly turned down richer offers to come to Los Angeles and try to win another championship. This is what Shea Serrano labeled as “shooting your shot" or a gamble, for those not on Twitter.

If Nunn ends up performing well, he could earn a rich deal well above what he could have leveraged this past offseason (see Rajon Rondo post-2020 Lakers title). Or he could get hit with terrible luck, get exposed by the bright lights of Los Angeles, and fail to get a better deal after the season (See Dennis Schröeder post-2021 Lakers first-round exit).

If anything, Nunn should be one of the best offensive players on the Lakers roster. Think of this as the Lakers swapping their defensive specialist in Caruso for a scoring threat. Nunn shot 48.5 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from deep last season. On spot-up and catch-and-shoot 3s, Nunn shoots above 40 percent, which should be a boon when he plays next to the Lakers’ Big 3. He should also be a solid option to run the second unit as a decent pick-and-roll playmaker and crafty midrange scorer.

With the Heat last season, Nunn made a case for being Miami's best guard with Goran Dragic sitting out chunks of the season. He was at his best when Miami was missing a couple of players to injury or COVID-19 protocols, scoring 20+ points 12 times throughout the season. 

Nunn was an example of how Heat Culture works so it was surprising that the Heat didn't try to retain him or that other teams didn't come over the top rope with a more lucrative deal for a 25-year-old player with plenty of upside. In a season full of inconsistencies for the Heat, Nunn was consistently solid when he got minutes.

The Value

Nunn won't be the reason the Lakers win a championship. That’s up to LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Westbrook and frankly, that's not what this article is about.

The Lakers made plenty of splashy moves throughout the offseason, but they still needed to fill in some gaps in their lineup that would be hard for the 35+ club of Rajon Rondo, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, and Dwight Howard to fill. The Lakers needed to add young guys that could play all 82 games and they went out and signed two of the better young players for below market value (Nunn and Malik Monk).

Nunn will most likely play a bench role for the Lakers. If the Lakers can get 20 to 25 minutes of solid play from Nunn a night, this move would be a success for the Lakers. Nunn, defensive lapses included, is the type of player that plays himself into minutes just solely off his scoring.

Look at all the Photoshopped images on social media, barely any of them mention Nunn. By the end of the season, Laker fans might be most thankful for the Nunn signing more than any other deal that went down this offseason.