Skip to main content

Lakers News: LA Trading Expiring Contract, Draft Selections For Former Lottery Pick

The Los Angeles front office made... a good trade to improve the team? What is happening??

Your Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly getting in on the trade game a bit early -- with a deal that I actually proposed over the weekend!

Per Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, LA is acquiring Washington Wizards combo forward Rui Hachimura, a restricted free agent with two-way ability and loads of upside, for a current Laker who can't defend and has zero upside following a major injury.

Woj reports that the agreement, which has now been finalized (but not officially verified by either team) will send the expiring $5.3 million contract of useless LA point guard Kendrick Nunn, a 2023 second-round pick that the Lakers acquired from the Chicago Bulls, a 2029 LA second-rounder, and a 2028 second-rounder (whichever pick winds up being less desirable between those of the Wizards and Lakers, both of which LA currently possesses).

So, in other words... your team made a good trade!

Shams Charania of The Athletic was also early to the news as it was still being finalized.

Hachimura, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, failed to come to terms on a rookie contract extension with the Wizards, per Woj. With ex-Laker Kyle Kuzma, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, becoming the power forward priority (for a team that will probably not even make the play-in tournament, but whatever), and starter Deni Avidja seemingly more than capable of picking up spot minutes at the four behind Kuzma, Hachimura became expendable.

Conversely, Los Angeles traded for Hachimura, the ninth pick in the 2019 NBA draft out of Gonzaga, with designs on inking him to an extension deal, Woj relays.

There had been no leaks about this deal happening ahead of today, whereas newswires were absolutely filthy with chatter that LA was interested in trading for another recent lottery pick, New York Knicks power forward Cam Reddish.

The 6'8" forward, still just 24, was a 2019-20 All Rookie Second Team selection.

He has battled injuries himself during his relatively brief NBA career. To date he has missed at least 15 games every season. When he's been available, however, Hachimura has performed well. He holds career averages of 13 points on .479/.356/.776 shooting splits, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.6 steals, across 177 games (118 starts). 

This year, as a full-time reserve, he's averaging 13 points on .488/.337/.759 shooting splits, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists -- fairly level with his career numbers. His game may not have grown leaps and bounds from a fateful rookie season just yet, but he's also never played alongside a talent at the level of LeBron James (with apologies to Bradley Beal), who can often maximize his teammates, especially the ones with decent jumpers.

As Arash Markazi of The Sporting Tribune notes, Hachimura is the third Washington Wizards teammate of current $47.1 million Lakers reserve guard Russell Westbrook to be reunited with the former 2017 MVP. All three -- Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, and Troy Brown Jr. -- seem likely to join Westbrook in bench rotations once the rest of the team is healthy.

But Kendrick Nunn's contract proved to be uniquely disastrous to LA. He missed the entire 2021-22 season with a meddlesome bone bruise, and since coming back needed recent injuries to two major Lakers swingmen (Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves) to even crack LA's perimeter rotation. His jumper has looked decent of late, but he's a poor defender and doesn't offer enough on offense to be worth big minutes. 

Amidst reports that the Lakers didn't want to sacrifice their two highly-coveted future first-round draft picks in 2027 and 2029 in a trade, fans (and LeBron James himself) were understandably concerned that the team might stand pat at the deadline. This is a smart deal, and it didn't require any first-round picks for LA to get a former lottery talent.