On Monday, it was reported that Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura was gaining some interest as the league prepares for the Feb. 9 trade deadline. It appears as though a deal involving Hachimura will get done far sooner than that.
According to a recent report, the Los Angeles Lakers are set to acquire Hachimura from the Wizards in exchange for guard Kendrick Nunn and multiple second-round draft picks.
The Hachimura trade to the Lakers — including three second-round picks and guard Kendrick Nunn — is expected to be completed this afternoon, sources tell ESPN. The Lakers will land Hachimura, the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. https://t.co/TPQEQcxg4Q
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 23, 2023
Sources: Lakers are sending the 2023 Chicago second-rounder, their own 2029 second-rounder and the Wizards/Lakers less favorable second-rounder in 2028 in the Kendrick Nunn-for-Rui Hachimura trade.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 23, 2023
Earlier in the day, it was reported that Hachimura did not practice with his Wizards teammates on Monday. A healthy player missing a practice or game is often a telltale sign that a trade is imminent. Players are sometimes held out because teams don’t want to risk injuries, which can obviously derail any potential deal.
The Lakers have been maligned all season long for not making trades for valuable role players. With this deal all but finalized, the critics will have a little less ammunition going forward.
Hachimura is a really solid role player, and he will offer the Lakers some size, skill and depth.
So far this season, the Gonzaga University product is putting up 13.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game. As a power forward, he is pretty effective shooting the ball from deep, hitting 33.7 percent of his 3-pointers so far this season.
To make matters even more encouraging for the Lakers, Hachimura has enjoyed all that production while coming off the bench. He hasn’t been a consistent starter since the 2020-21 season, but he has maintained a solid level of production.
Though the Lakers have had a pretty disappointing season thus far, they are well within striking range of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers are three games under .500, but they are just two games back of the No. 6 seed in the conference.
Adding Hachimura should really help the Lakers be even more competitive from here on out.
With this deal virtually done, it should give Lakers fans hope that the team is indeed looking to make moves prior to the deadline. As crazy as it might sound, a couple more nice trades for the Lakers could land them right back in the title conversation.