It looks like NBA trade season is starting in earnest. The Los Angeles Lakers traded for Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura. In return, the Lakers are sending Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks to Washington, the teams announced Monday. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the deal.
Hachimura was the ninth overall pick out of Gonzaga in the 2019 NBA Draft. He played a ton in his first two seasons, starting 105 total games, but that number dropped during the 2021-22 season. He started just 13 games, appearing in 42 total. This season, he's appeared in 30, but starting none.
The Wizards reportedly began exploring trade options for Hachimura a little over a week ago, but the writing may have been on the wall from the start of the season. Back in October, the Wizards didn't offer Hachimura a rookie extension and since they have enough forwards (Kyle Kuzma being one), Hachimura became a little less necessary to the team.
[ Jake Fischer: Lakers’ acquisition of Rui Hachimura could limit free-agent flexibility ]
The Wizards' loss is the Lakers' gain. Los Angeles needs more players to bulk up its problematically thin roster, and Hachimura satisfies one of its biggest needs.
When asked about the possibility of being traded last weekend, Hachimura seemed pretty sanguine about the whole thing. He didn't seem to mind the idea of playing somewhere else as long as the team likes his game.
"I just got to play my game. I know what I can do, and I can help the team to win," Hachimura said after putting up 30 points in a victory over the Orlando Magic, his final game as a Wizard. "It's either here or other team. I can help teams."