The Los Angeles Lakers went into the 2022-23 season with a roster that was not expected to make a run in the NBA Playoffs. That was until Rob Pelinka went to work at the trade deadline, completely reinventing the roster by doing the impossible: trading Russell Westbrook.
Pelinka teed up the eventual Westbrook trade with another great trade with the Washington Wizards. The Lakers traded Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks (one of which was a swap) for Wizards role player Rui Hachimura.
Hachimura showed signs of potential in Washington but never quite pieced it together with the Wizards (which is the case for a lot of players with potential in Washington). Even though Hachimura was entering a much better situation that would help his game, there were still a lot of pundits who were doubting the move.
Now that Hachimura has put together a great postseason run and re-signed with the Lakers, fans are starting to dunk on those same pundits who didn’t believe that Los Angeles pulled off a good deal.
Lakers fans dunk on ESPN for resurfaced Rui Hachimura trade grade
It is safe to say that less than a year removed this is an A+ trade for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers traded someone who is not even in the NBA anymore with a hodge-podge of second-round picks to get an important role player who will be on the team for three more years.
Making the trade even better is the fact that the Lakers got all of those second-round picks back in the long run. Big man Thomas Bryant wanted a bigger role than the one he had in Los Angeles so the Lakers traded him to the Denver Nuggets for three second-round picks.
Los Angeles traded three second-round picks for a player who had a huge role in the playoffs and will be with the team beyond the 2022-23 season. Denver traded three second-round picks for a player who didn’t have a role on the team at all in the playoffs and is now on the Miami Heat.
This is not unusual for the Lakers, though. If there is one thing that pundits love to do it is to undervalue any potential move that the Lake Show.
But just like every other time the Lakers were doubted, fans now have receipts that the pundits were totally wrong.