The Los Angeles Lakers have officially kicked off the trade season.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers have acquired forward Rui Hachimura from the Wizards. The deal is centered around point guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks.
Note: That 2023 Chicago second-rounder was sent to the Wizards back in 2019. The Wizards then sent it to LA, but it’s now going back to the Wizards (if I understand it correctly).
Hachimura, 24, was the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The six-foot-eight forward has averaged 13.0 points and 5.1 rebounds over his four-year career while shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from downtown.
Once a strong part of the Wizards’ future, Hachimura struggled to hold into a starting role amidst DC’s roster changes over the past couple of seasons. He’s also headed toward restricted free agency in the same summer where Washington is likely hoping to retain free agents like Kyle Kuzma and Kristpas Prozingis. With that being the case, the Lakers will now earn his RFA rights and reportedly have plans to sign him to an extension this summer.
Hachimura will undoubtedly be an upgrade to the Lakers’ lackluster supporting cast. He’s a talented scorer with an elite physical frame, and he’ll finally give LeBron James some much more reliable shooting from behind the arc.
Having said that, while a change of scenery could be good for the former lottery pick, it’s hard to imagine Hachimura makes the kind of instant winning impact the Lakers might need. For as much potential as he has down the road, he’s still been a rather inconsistent player.
Anyway, arguably the bigger deal here is that the first deal of trade season has officially gone through the wire! While this may not feel like the most groundbreaking transaction, all it takes sometimes is one move to open up the floodgates. Other teams who were in on Hachimura may now be ready to commit to other deals. Meanwhile, teams like the Lakers or Wizards have signaled that they are open for business.
I’m not saying I expect a bunch of trades to pop up over the next couple of days, but I can almost guarantee a handful of conversations are now picking up steam.
Bring on the chaos!