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The Washington Wizards have traded Rui Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers for a package of draft picks, several people with knowledge of the deal said Monday.
The Lakers will send three future second-round picks and guard Kendrick Nunn to Washington for Hachimura. The picks include a 2023 pick over Chicago, the Lakers pick for 2029, and the worst-case runner-up between the Wizards and Lakers in 2028.
Hachimura, 24, said Saturday that he had “no comment” on the recent trade speculation and that he “just wants to[ed] to be somewhere that wants me to be a basketball player.”
Hachimura did not practice with the Wizards Monday due to an excused personal absence, coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.
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Hachimura, a 2019 Lottery pick, has struggled to thrive during his four seasons with the Wizards. After missing nearly half of last season due to a personal vacation, Hachimura has been placed on a bench role this season. He averages 13 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 24.3 minutes per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from deep.
The Wizards and Hachimura did not agree to a contract extension before the deadline last October. ESPN and The Athletic were the first to report on the Hachimura trade.
The Lakers, who are the West’s 12th seed on Monday, have their eye on trades all season after star forward LeBron James criticized the team’s roster build on opening night. The Hachimura deal allowed the Lakers to add a rotation player without sacrificing either of their two remaining future first-round picks, which could be used to close additional deals before the Feb. 9 trade close.
Hachimura would address a clear need for Los Angeles, which has been looking for size and athleticism on the wing all season. The team was forced to use undersized lineups as all-star center Anthony Davis was sidelined with a foot injury, and recent injuries to Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves have thinned their perimeter corps.
Hachimura’s defense has been his weak point throughout his career, but his 6-foot-8, 230-pound frame offers an enticing mix of versatility and physicality.
If he shines with the change of scenery, the Lakers can make him a restricted free agent by making him a qualifying offer this summer.
For the Wizards (20-26), the move addresses overcrowding in the power forward position as the team sits 12th in the Eastern Conference. Unseld’s preferred lineup consists of Daniel Gafford in the middle and Kristaps Porzingis as a power forward, allowing Hachimura and third-year forward Deni Avdija, a 2020 lottery pick, to be pushed off the bench for minutes.
Rather than risk losing Hachimura in free agency for nothing, Washington has regained the draft fortune without taking on any additional future salary — key for the organization as it faces the question of whether to double with Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma retain expensive core players beyond this season.
Kuzma said earlier this season he won’t be signing an extension with the Wizards and has become a player of interest for several teams as the Feb. 9 trade deadline nears, despite Washington signaling it intends to sign its third-best scorer keep to several people in the league.
Porzingis could exercise a $36 million player option or become an unrestricted free agent. To make matters worse, Bradley Beal is set to earn $46.7 million next season in the second year of his five-year, maximum-term contract. Keeping all three players would make Washington pay the luxury tax, which owner Ted Leonsis has only done once since taking over the franchise in 2010.
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But finding a new home for Hachimura ticked an item off Washington’s to-do list.
The Wizards and Lakers are no strangers to trading partners, having previously agreed to a 2021 trade that sent Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, Hachimura would be reunited with several former Wizards teammates including Westbrook, with whom he developed a close relationship in Washington, Thomas Bryant and Troy Brown Jr.
Nunn, 27, never found a consistent and productive role with the Lakers this season after missing the 2021-22 season with a knee injury. The prolific guard has averaged 6.7 points in 39 appearances while shooting just 40.6 percent overall and 32.5 percent from deep. He is in the final year of a two-year, $10.3 million contract and will be a full free agent this summer.