The Wizards have announced the trade of forward Rui Hachimura to the Lakers, making the reported deal official via a press release.
Along with guard Kendrick Nunn, the Wizards will receive the Bulls’ 2023 second-round pick, the Lakers’ 2029 second-rounder, and the less favorable of the Wizards/Lakers 2028 second-rounder.
“We watched Rui grow as a professional during his time here and appreciate his contributions on and off the court,” Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. “We wish him the best as he begins a new chapter in Los Angeles.”
Hachimura, 23, is 6-foot-8 is averaging 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 games this season, shooting 49 percent from the field. He was selected by the Wizards out of Gonzaga with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
He will offer the Lakers a young and seemingly up-and-coming frontcourt rotation player who can either back up or start alongside the likes of team stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis (when healthy). Given the improved play of center Thomas Bryant, the Lakers’ frontcourt is suddenly versatile and experienced, with a nice mix of youth.
In other words, the deal appears to be a steal for Lakers GM Rob Pelinka. But perhaps not so much for Sheppard and the Wizards.
“Why do you rush to make that trade if you’re the Wizards?” a rival scout said in a text to Hoops Wire. “I know for a fact they can do better than (what the Lakers are offering) for Hachimura.”
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.
“Kendrick has shown the ability to be a solid perimeter threat who can provide instant offense as a reserve,” Sheppard said. “He has proven to be a valuable contributor during his young career, most notably as a key role player helping Miami make a run to the Finals.”
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.
The best season of Hachimura’s 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 is not far off from that type of production today.
You could make the case that Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard’s most notable achievements over the past few seasons all involve getting people extra excited about the Lakers.
— Sam Amico (@AmicoHoops) January 23, 2023
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