NBA

Lakers GM reveals bold plans for Rui Hachimura

NBA Analytics Network

The first deal of the NBA trading season was finalized 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 many people believe the Lakers won. Hachimura turns 25 in February and has shown he can score a team’s frontcourt. Looking for more players who can create forwards and knock down shots, Los Angeles seems to have found a good one.

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

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

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

Hachimura is heading for limited free duty this summer after failing to agree 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 they have their sights set on him as a trading target.

In his career, Hachimura has averaged 13 points per game, with 47.9 percent coming from the field and 35.6 percent coming from 3-point range. Ultimately, he is set to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the starting line-up, to take some pressure off them as lone forwards.

“I think the trade-off for the Lakers is whether to win a championship or not. There is no intermediate or incremental growth,” said Pelinka. “So when we analyze opportunities, we have to do it through that lens. And, I said this at the start of the season, if there’s a chance to get all the way to the end and win a championship, there’s no resource we’re going to hold on to if we feel like there is.”

To acquire Hachimura, the Lakers offloaded much of their tradable assets. Patrick Beverley’s expiring contract could be reversed before the deadline, but if Los Angeles is going to make a bigger impression, Russell Westbrook and their future first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 will almost certainly have to be included.

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

Rob Pelinka will certainly continue to work on the phones, looking for deals to upgrade the roster. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if this was the biggest move Los Angeles has made during the season, conserving their best resources for a potential off-season blockbuster trade.

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