It’s been a roller coaster last few hours for the Los Angeles Lakers. The joy from arguably their best win of the season was short-lived as news came out the next morning that head coach Frank Vogel was once again in the hot seat and would be judged on a game-by-game basis. It has been a season of setbacks, the latest of which is to Kendrick Nunn. Prior to the game against the Jazz, Vogel told the assembled media that the guard had suffered a setback with his injured knee not responding well to increased workouts, ultimately delaying a debut that has been long-anticipated and seemingly fast-approaching.
The Lakers have started to get healthier. Carmelo Anthony’s day-to-day back injury and Anthony Davis’ MCL sprain (which he is nearing a return from) are the only remaining significant knocks to the roster. Nunn, however, has yet to play for the purple and gold since signing a one-year deal in the offseason.
Despite a guard-heavy rotation already, Nunn was expected to have a large role for a team that sometimes lacks in quality from its role players. Now, Vogel and company will have to wait even longer to see how the former Miami Heat player will fit into their plans.
Another factor of the setback is its proximity to the trade deadline. Most believe that the Lakers’ most enticing trade assets are Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn, and a 2027 first round pick. Considering he is not on a long-term contract that would benefit a team buying low on him, it appears less likely than ever that Nunn fits into a trade package as anything more than salary ballast rather than as a true positive asset.
More than ever, the Lakers need Nunn to return as a positive difference-maker because of how certain it looks that he will finish the season in Los Angeles, whether on the court or on the sidelines.