With the addition of Rui Hachimura to their roster, the Los Angeles Lakers have completed a trade with the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks.
In Washington this season, he has come off the bench in every game, which has made his move a disappointment. Hachimura would have become a restricted free agent at the end of this NBA season if he hadn’t signed a rookie-deal extension.
“I just want to be somewhere that believes in me and allows me to be myself. That’s my goal,” the ninth overall pick from Gonzaga told reporters on Saturday.
The Lakers have been looking to add another big man into their squad to help out Anthony Davis and LeBron James and, while he may not start initially, Hachimura is expected to get more game time and start more games than he did for the Wizards.
Despite coming off the bench, Hachimura has been in good form this year, averaging 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 24.3 minutes per game. He has been shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 33.7 percent from three.
“Adding both size and depth to the wing position has been a goal, and the chance to accomplish that by acquiring a player with Rui’s two-way skills and upside was an opportunity that doesn’t present itself often,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement.
It is expected that the Lakers will extend Hachimura’s contract this summer, even though he will remain a restricted free agent after the season ends.
A knee injury kept Nunn out of all last season’s games, and he has only played a reserve role this season, averaging 6.7 points in 39 games.