Lakers GM Reveals Bold Plan Behind Rui Hachimura Trade

Rui Hachimura, NBA Trade Rumors, Los Angeles Lakers
NBA Analysis Network

The first deal of trade season in the NBA was completed earlier this week when the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards finalized a deal. The Lakers traded Kendrick Nunn, and three second-round picks to the Wizards in exchange for Rui Hachimura.

This is a deal that many people believe the Lakers won. Hachimura is turning 25 in February and has shown that he can provide some scoring punch to a team’s frontcourt. On the look for more players that can create on offense and knock down shots, Los Angeles looks to have found a good one.

“[We] felt like it was an opportunity for us to strike early and address a need in a market that has proven to be a little bit slow,” Pelinka said as he joined Hachimura for his introductory press conference. “And [it] doesn’t mean our work is finished. We’re going to continue to monitor the situation with the 29 other teams.

“… Our job as a front office is always to look to improve our team both now and in the future, and we felt like Rui was the perfect way to do that, and that’s why we struck early.”

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Rui Hachimura & Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Hachimura is heading for restricted free agency this summer after not agreeing to a rookie extension with the Wizards before the season. The Lakers have every intention of signing him to a new deal, which is part of the reason that they set their sights on him as a trade target.

In his career, Hachimura has averaged 13 points per game, shooting 47.9 percent overall from the field and 35.6 percent from 3-point range. Eventually, the plan is for him to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the starting lineup, helping take some pressure off of them as the sole creators offensively.

“I think the calculus for the Lakers is to win a championship or not. There’s no in-between or incremental growth,” Pelinka said. “So as we analyze opportunities, we have to do it through that lens. And, I said this at the beginning of the season, if there’s an opportunity to get all the way to the end and win a championship, there’s no resource we’ll hold on to if we feel like that’s there.”

To acquire Hachimura, the Lakers unloaded a large portion of their tradable assets. Patrick Beverley’s expiring contract could be flipped ahead of the deadline, but if Los Angeles is going to make a bigger splash, Russell Westbrook and their future first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 will almost assuredly have to be included.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Rui Hachimura & Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Rob Pelinka will certainly keep working the phones, seeking deals to upgrade the roster. But, it would not be a surprise if this was the biggest move that Los Angeles makes during the season, saving their best assets for a potential offseason blockbuster trade.