The Lakers have made a significant splash ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline.
According to reports from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles will acquire Rui Hachimura from Washington in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and multiple future second-round picks.
News of the trade as the Lakers look to improve their roster by the deadline. LA is expected to be very active on the market in order to bolster its roster outside of LeBron James and Anthony Davis with aim of making a push to qualify for the NBA Playoffs in 2023. The Lakers missed out on the postseason in 2022.
How did each team fare in the deal? The Sporting News has trade grades for both the Lakers and Wizards below.
Lakers trade grade
In Hachimura, the Lakers are getting a former top-10 pick that is averaging 13.0 points per game this season and is weeks away from his 25th birthday.
Two days before news of the trade surfaced, Hachimura tied a career-high with 30 points in a blowout win over the Magic. The last time Hachimura scored 30 points? Seven of his 12 field goals were assisted by current Lakers guard Russell Westbrook.
At 6-foot-8, Hachimura has shown the capability of playing both forward positions thanks to his versatility and athleticism. Over the last two seasons, Hachimura is shooting 40.1 percent from 3-point range at a respectable volume (2.9 attempts per game), which could potentially aid in the team’s desperate need for more shooting.
More than anything, Hachimura fits LA’s current attempt to have a roster that trends much younger than it did during its disappointing 2021-22 campaign. Hachimura rejoins two other former Wizards teammates in Troy Brown Jr. and Thomas Bryant, both of whom are part of the Lakers’ infusion of youth.
Add in Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV and LA will now have five key contributors aged 25 or younger when including Hachimura.
When grading LA’s acquisition of Hachimura, there are two things that are important to acknowledge: who — and what — the Lakers parted ways with and Hachimura’s looming contract situation.
The Lakers will move on from Nunn, a 2023 second-round pick via Chicago, a 2028 second-round pick and a 2029 second-round pick — three of seven second-rounders the team had to offer.
The beginning of the end of Hachimura’s time in Washington came ahead of the 2022-23 season when the two sides could not come to terms on a contract extension. Hachimura, who is in the final year of his rookie-scale contract, becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season.
If the Lakers believe they can continue Hachimura’s development into the top-10 talent he proved to be in 2019, they will likely make him a part of their future. According to Wojnarowski, LA intends to ink Hachimura to an extension this summer.
The move feels like a precursor to others and is a step in the right direction.
Wizards trade grade
Once it was apparent that Hachimura did not fit in Washington’s long-term plans, the franchise began its search for a suitor.
With a number of teams reportedly interested in Hachimura’s services, this deal feels incomplete.
The value for a 25-year-old former lottery pick averaging 13.0 points per game would seemingly be more than Nunn and three future second-round picks, but that is ultimately the return for Hachimura. Washington is now loading up on draft capital, albeit future second-round picks, but it could use said capital as part of a bigger deal moving forward.
At the time of the deal, the Wizards are within two games of the East’s final Play-In Tournament spot, but this could be the first move of a larger, more forward-focused plan.
That said, it’s hard not to feel as though the Wizards could have taken their time to drive offers up with weeks to spare before the deadline.