The Lakers are finalizing a trade for Wizards forward Rui Hachimura with the intention of signing him to a contract extension, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
In other words, they view Hachimura as part of their long-term plans. He would otherwise be a restricted free agent this summer — and his contract status while with the Wizards seemed to be a sticking point.
Instead, the Wizards are apparently more focused on signing forward Kyle Kuzma to a larger deal this offseason. In Washington, Hachimura was seemingly becoming a victim of a numbers game, with the forward spot also featuring the likes of Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis (when healthy), Deni Avdija and even Corey Kispert.
In exchange for Hachimura, the Wizards will receive guard Kendrick Nunn, the Bulls’ 2023 second-round pick, the Lakers’ 2029 second-rounder and the less favorable of the Wizards/Lakers 2028 second-rounder, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player,” Hachimura said recently, via Ava Wallace of the Washington Post. “And I want to be somewhere that loves my — likes my game, you know? … I just want to be somewhere that trusts, believes in me. Just I can be myself — that’s my goal.”
Hachimura, 24, is 6-foot-8 and was selected by the Wizards out of Gonzaga with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He is averaging 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 games this season, shooting 49 percent from the field.
The best season of his four-year career came in 2020-21, his second in the league, when he averaged 13.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 57 games.
He had also been drawing interest from the Mavericks, Kings and Bucks, according to a HoopsHype report and Hoops Wire sources.
Nunn, 27, is 6-2 and has been a bit player for the Lakers since arriving ahead of the 2021-22 season. He missed all of last year with an injury, and is averaging 6.7 points on 41 percent shooting in 39 appearances this year.
This becomes the second notable trade between the Lakers and Wizards in recent years, with Los Angeles landing guard Russell Westbrook from Washington back on July 21, 2021.
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