LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: Rui Hachimura #28 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the Crypto.com Arena on January 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA. Note to Users: By downloading and/or using this photo, the user expressly acknowledges and agrees to be bound by the terms of his license agreement with Getty Images.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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The Los Angeles Lakers have abstained from any sort of disastrous deal regarding LeBron James and Anthony Davis, despite lingering questions dating back to last season’s rough campaigns.

And acquiring Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards may have earned Rob Pelinka enough goodwill with the Lakers’ fanbase to deter him from garnering greater attention.

The Western Conference general manager told Fox Sports’ Rick Butcher of the deal, “It’s expensive, but it lets you say he’s done something.” I don’t know why he would do that I didn’t think it was a great trade Louis gives them a little more size and a little better defender but he is injury prone They’ve had enough already and his contract is a problem.”

The Lakers sold Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks in Hachimura. Considering Nunn is always a long shot to get a second round pick, he scored 6.7 points in 13.5 minutes per game with the Lakers. The cost of paying a 24-year-old player was not at face value.

What could be more expensive is that Hachimura is a restricted free agent this summer, so the trade could be just a short-term rental.

Indeed, with Russell Westbrook’s $47 million contract off the books, the Lakers should have the flexibility to respond to any offer Hachimura receives. Currently, only James, Davis, Max Christie and Damian Jones (player option) are under contract for next season.

Hachimura also had 12 points and six boards in 22 minutes off the bench in his only appearance for the Lakers so far, but will re-sign him if LA targets higher-profile free agency. may not be a top priority.

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These possibilities, combined with questions about Hachimura’s overall game, have given mixed opinions to NBA officials Bucher spoke to.

“Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan,” the Eastern Conference scout said of Hachimura. “Sometimes he can get a bucket, but as long as he’s an influential player on a winning team, I don’t see it. Ask him a few questions about his senses and IQ, too.”

Another Eastern Conference scout said, “Stole the Lakers’ contract. A rare appreciation for their front office.”

Time will tell. It was clear that the 23-26 Lakers needed to change something. Whether the Hachimura deal solves enough problems to prevent the Lakers from forgoing future first-round picks and making more drastic changes before the Feb. 9 trade deadline. I don’t know yet.


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