Restricted free agent forward Rui Hachimura’s value reportedly is in the $12 million to $18 million starting range this offseason.
“Hachmiura is a straightforward restricted free agent, eligible for up to a starting max of approximately $33.5 million,” Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus wrote. “His market value, as projected by multiple competing executives, is in the $12-18 million starting range.”
The Los Angeles Lakers made a deal with the Washington Wizards for Hachimura before the trade deadline during the 2022-23 season, and he became a crucial part of the team’s rotation down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs.
A first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, Hachimura showcased his scoring talent at times in the playoffs for the Lakers. He averaged 12.2 points in 24.3 minutes per game in the playoffs, shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 48.7 percent from beyond the arc.
The Lakers certainly would love to bring Hachimura back, especially since he can play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the frontcourt.
The question for the Lakers will be how much they are willing to pay the forward in free agency.
Los Angeles has several key free agents, including Austin Reaves (restricted), D’Angelo Russell (unrestricted), Lonnie Walker IV (unrestricted) and Dennis Schroder (unrestricted).
Depending on the markets for those players, it may be tough for the Lakers to keep all of them on the team for the 2023-24 season. Russell and Reaves could both command major money on the open market, and the team only has the non-Bird Rights for Schroder and Walker, which could make it tricky to bring either player back.
However, Hachimura’s reported value seems to be pretty reasonable. The former Wizard made just under $6.3 million during the final season of his rookie deal.
Hachimura’s abilities to space the floor and defend at the forward position are extremely coveted in the current landscape of the NBA.
However, the Japanese big man still averages just 12.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game for his career. While the 25-year-old should get paid nicely as an above-average role player, the Lakers shouldn’t have to shell out star money to keep him.
After making the Western Conference Finals in the 2022-23 season, the Lakers and Rob Pelinka are hoping to build on that success this offseason by improving the roster around James and Davis.