Over two years ago the Washington Wizards pulled off a brilliant trade (for them) with the Los Angeles Lakers, convincing the team to trade legitimate NBA assets for Russell Westbrook. The trade was criticized heavily at the time for the Lake Show and quickly became obvious that it was a fleece.
In a classic case of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”, the Wizards might be returning the favor to the Lakers before this year’s NBA trade deadline.
The trade is not nearly as big as the Westbrook trade but Los Angeles is nonetheless on the doorstep of acquiring a promising young lottery talent for a great price. According to NBA insider Shams Charania, the Lakers are finalizing a trade that would send Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks to the Washington Wizards for Rui Hachimura.
Lakers trade for Rui Hachimura is a home run by Rob Pelinka.
Los Angeles being able to land Rui Hachimura for an expiring in Kendrick Nunn, who has been awful this season, as well as disposable draft picks is a huge win. This is exactly the kind of trade that Los Angeles should be making if they are not making a big Russell Westbrook trade.
Hachimura instantly provides wing depth that the Lakers have been desperate for all season. He is a proficient three-point shooter who has struggled a bit this season but shot over 44% from three last season. In 24.3 minutes per game this season, Hachimura is averaging 13 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists.
He might not be Kyle Kuzma but Hachimura provides a Kyle Kuzma-light impact on this Lakers team. The former ninth-overall pick has a similar athletic profile to Kuzma and is still three years young than the former Laker.
This trade also has an eye on the future. Hachimura is a restricted free agent after this season and the Lakers now have the right to match any offer sheet he receives. He is not going to be an expensive signing and is someone who Los Angeles can comfortably bring back for another 3-4 years.
At 24 years old, Hachimura is just scratching the surface of his potential in the league and with the Lakers’ player development, we could see Hachimura’s outbursts scoring the basketball become a much more consistent thing.
This is a fantastic trade for Los Angeles (and one that we nailed almost perfectly in a prediction) that will make them better this year and in future years as well.