Report: Kendrick Nunn exercising $5.25M player option with Lakers

Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn
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Undrafted Kendrick Nunn, after scoring 15 points per game playing two seasons with the Heat, might have dreamed of a bigger contract in free agency.

He settled for just a $5 million salary from the Lakers last summer.

The contract included a player option for next season, insurance for Nunn. But the deal was clearly designed to allow him to re-enter free agency this summer.

Yet, after missing the entire season with a knee injury, Nunn will take the guaranteed money.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report:

Nunn is expected to pick up his $5.25 million player option for next season, sources said

This is a fascinating decision on multiple levels.

Could Nunn have gotten more money by opting out?

Nunn had his market cooled last summer by restricted free agency. He signed with the Lakers only after the Heat pulled his qualifying offer late in the process. The Knicks and at least one other team reportedly made Nunn larger offers than what he took from Los Angeles.

So, while Nunn didn’t boost his stock by missing the season, he might have gotten a raise by opting out.

He could have even held internal leverage with the capped-out Lakers, who could’ve given him a $6 million salary through Non-Bird Rights. That’s money Los Angeles wouldn’t have had available to spend elsewhere, though the luxury tax is a concern.

Did the Lakers want Nunn to opt in or out?

Of course, the Lakers might see a player who contributed nothing all year and value him even lower. But perhaps they still view him as on a positive-value contract. Last season was a sunk cost. The 26-year-old didn’t suddenly lose all his talent going forward.

If nothing else, Nunn’s expiring contract could be useful in a trade. Nunn and Talen Horton-Tucker are the only Lakers with middling salaries – earning less than maxed-out LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook and more than the minimum.

What advice is Nunn getting?

After signing with Los Angeles, Nunn hired Rich Paul. The agent – who represents LeBron and Davis – has both leverage over the Lakers (as he did over the Cavaliers previously) and unique ties to the Lakers.

What if LeBron wanted Nunn staying in Los Angeles? Even if Nunn isn’t necessarily worth $5.25 million, he’s probably better than whoever else the Lakers would get for the minimum. LeBron doesn’t have pay the excess cost. He just wants the optimized roster. Plus, there’s Nunn’s trade usefulness.

Then again, Nunn might have drawn a higher salary by opting out. See above.

Would Paul have gone against the wishes of his premier client, even if he thought Nunn would’ve been better off opting out?

Paul is far from alone among agents in facing conflicts of interest. But the situation can be thorny, nonetheless.

Of course, Nunn was aware of Paul’s LeBron connection when hiring the agent. At least this isn’t an undisclosed conflict.

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

It might have been the loudest the Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.

Three things to know: Joel Embiid returns, scores final 11 vs. Hawks


Three Things is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Joel Embiid returns, scores final 11 vs. Hawks in 76ers win

The 76ers went 3-1 with Joel Embiid sidelined by a left mid-foot sprain, but they are so much more a dangerous team with him.

Embiid scored the 76ers’ final 11 points of the game against the Hawks, including the go-ahead 10-foot jumper with 18.6 seconds left, to cap a 30-point night and lift the Sixers past the Hawks 104-101.

Embiid was making critical defensive plays down the stretch as well.

Embiid finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two blocks. That’s five straight 30+ point games for Embiid, who picked up right where he left off before the injury.

Well, not exactly pick up at the start as Embiid was 1-of-7 shooting to open the game, and he wasn’t the only Sixers rusty at the start. Embiid seemed focused on sharing the ball early but settled into an offensive balance as the game went on. Philly was saved by a solid defensive night.

The 76ers continue to pick up wins with James Harden and Tyrese Maxey out, which is a good sign going forward.

That’s three-straight losses for the Hawks, a loss that stings because they should have been able to dominate the shorthanded 76ers backcourt and get the win.

2) Karl-Anthony Towns goes down with concerning leg injury

Let’s hope the optimistic report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is right and this isn’t as severe as it looked. Because it looked bad.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony simply was pushing off to run back upcourt when he fell to the ground — without contact — grabbing his knee and calf.

Towns was helped back to the locker room and did not return, with the Timberwolves officially saying he was out for the rest of the night with a calf strain.

A calf strain would be the best possible outcome. An MRI Monday will tell us more.

Towns’ stats are down this season as he adjusts to the odd fit of playing next to Rudy Gobert, but he is still averaging 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game.

The Wizards got a monster night from Kristaps Porzingis — a career-high 41 points — on their way to a 142-127 victory. When Porzingis is on this Washington team is tough to beat.

3) Big shots fall at Lakers’ game

Two big shots defined the night at the arena Monday.

First, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 with a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

The second one hurt the Lakers more. Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.

The Lakers got lost in the scramble. On the initial action, Russell Westbrook doubled Bennedict Mathurin in the corner, which left the screen setter Myles Turner open at the top for a clean look at a 3 — but he was short and came off the front of the rim. Tyrese Haliburton out-hustled everyone to the rebound and tried to create his own shot but saw Nembhard wide open and kicked him the rock.


The Pacers split their two games in Los Angeles at the start of a seven-game road trip through the West.

The Lakers had won 5-of-6 against a soft part of the schedule but that is about to change and over the next few weeks we will get a sense of where this 7-12 team really stands.

Watch Pacers’ Andrew Nembhard drain game-winning 3 to beat Lakers


LeBron James and Anthony Davis were on the court together (and combined for 46 points and 20 rebounds). Russell Westbrook continued to thrive as a sixth man with 24 points.

But the biggest shot of the night belonged to Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard — a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.

It was a well-designed play and when Westbrook chased and doubled Bennedict Mathurin in the corner it left the screen setter, Myles Turner, wide open for a clean look at a 3 — but he hit the front of the rim. The long rebound caromed out, Tyrese Haliburton grabbed it and tried to create, but then he saw Nembhard wide open and kicked him the rock.


The Pacers split their two games in Los Angeles at the start of a seven-game road trip through the West that will test the surprising Pacers.

For the Lakers… they have some hard decisions to make coming up.