The Los Angeles Lakers finally appear to be putting things together after a painfully slow start to the 2022-23 season. They have won seven of their last nine games, and while that hasn’t even pushed their record above .500, it shows that there’s still hope for this team to salvage their season. In the process, a couple of clear trade candidates have emerged for the Lakers, with Kendrick Nunn becoming arguably the top one.
All the trade chatter involving Russell Westbrook has quieted down for the time being, as he’s been a key part of the Lakers resurgence. Nunn, on the other hand, has been used sparingly to start the season, and he hasn’t looked like the same player he was prior to missing the entire 2021-22 season with a knee injury.
Other teams may have time to see if Nunn can figure things out this season, but the Lakers are not one of those teams. Los Angeles needs to pick up every win they can if they want to continue to turn their season around, which is why moving Nunn makes a lot of sense. So if Nunn gets traded, let’s take a look at the top three landing spots for L.A.’s forgotten guard.
3. Indiana Pacers
The Lakers have been linked to the Indiana Pacers involving a potential trade for Myles Turner, and while swapping Nunn for Turner straight up obviously wouldn’t be something that interests the Pacers, they could have some interest in Nunn amid their strange rebuild. Indiana seemed likely to undergo a rough season, but instead, they are 12-10 and sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
Right now, the Pacers have pretty good guard depth, which makes it a bit more unlikely they would have a ton of interest in Nunn. They could be willing to part with T.J. McConnell, who has had a smaller role for Indiana this season, and give those minutes to Nunn in hopes he could develop with them. McConnell’s playmaking boost off the bench could make him an interesting option for them.
Los Angeles would have to give up a lot more than Nunn to land Turner, but considering the rumors that have been swirling around these two teams here, it’s not out of the picture to suggest that Nunn could end up in Indiana as part of a bigger blockbuster involving Turner. Either way, the Pacers would be a much better spot for Kendrick Nunn to find his way back than in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a strong start to the season, but that doesn’t mean that their roster is perfect. They are lacking depth at the guard position behind Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, with Caris LaVert having to take on a pretty big role for them. That could make adding Nunn a legit possibility for Cleveland.
At his best, Nunn is a consistent source of bench scoring from the guard position. Despite being a point guard, he’s not a true playmaker, and has never been totally comfortable getting his teammates involved on offense. Mitchell and Garland are stronger facilitators than Nunn, so it would make sense for them to play him alongside them if they were to add him.
The Cavs don’t have a ton of bench pieces that would interest the Lakers (maybe Robin Lopez?) which could make getting a deal done a bit tricky here. Maybe the Lakers would be willing to take on a draft pick of two in an effort to build their draft assets back up, but it’s clear that Kendrick Nunn could help the Cavaliers out, which at least makes a trade between these two sides something worth monitoring.
1. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks are in a similar spot as the Lakers, as they currently find themselves in a bit of trouble. They are 10-11 right now, and despite making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season, they look nothing like that team this season. And a big reason why is because they have virtually no guard depth behind Luka Doncic right now.
Things have gotten so bad for Dallas that they signed Kemba Walker, who is a shell of his former self due to knee injuries, in an effort to shore up their guard depth on the bench. They could surely take a flier on Nunn hoping he can find his way as the 15 point per game scorer he was prior to missing the entire 2021-22 campaign.
There’s no guarantee that Nunn would pan out for Dallas, but they don’t have many other options right now. Three-point specialist Davis Bertans or third-string center Javale McGee could be of interest for the Lakers, but if the Mavs are desperate, they may have to give a bit more to land Nunn. And right now, it looks like they would be the best trade destination for Kendrick Nunn if he ends up getting moved.