NBA trade season is here! The deadline for entries is February 9th, but we’re already seeing teams frolicking and even making deals.
On Monday, the Lakers and Wizards reportedly joined forces in a deal centered around forward Rui Hachimura.
Here are our scores for closed deals. Note: This story will be updated, so keep checking back.
Jan. 23: Lakers strengthen forecourt, reportedly making deal with Wizards
lakers to get: Rui Hachimura
wizard to get: Kendrick Nunn, 2023 via Bulls second-round pick, 2028 second-round pick, 2029 Lakers second-round pick
Grade for Lakers: B
This is an upgrade for the Lakers. Hachimura, the No. 9 draft pick in 2019, is averaging 13 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting, so he could help distribute the ground and potentially give the Lakers another much-needed offensive weapon. But the Lakers really need a 3-and-D specialist, and Hachimura is shooting 33.7 percent from beyond the arc this season, a significant drop from the impressive 44.7 percent he shot last season. He’s also not considered a standout defensive back, which is another area the Lakers need to address given they’re ranked 20th in the league in defensive standings (113.8).
That being said, the Lakers gave up very little on this deal, considering Nunn was ineffective and has averaged career lows in points (6.7), field goal percentage (40.6), and minutes (13, 5) scored. And perhaps most importantly, after sticking to the trade deadline last season, the Lakers are signaling to their stars that they will try to make some changes. Hachimura is only 24 and has many advantages. He’s a strong catch-and-shooter who has proven he can make a 3 – and he has the athleticism to develop into a strong defender.
Grade for Wizards: C
As for the Wizards, it’s clear that their priority is re-signing Kyle Kuzma to a long-term deal. And after failing to agree a rookie extension with Hachimura, it became more and more likely that it wouldn’t work out. The Wizards didn’t get much in return for Hachimura — they probably could have done better than Nunn and three future second-round picks in exchange for a current top-10 pick. That being said, Nunn was playing much better basketball before a knee injury sidelined him all of last season, so maybe a franchise change will serve him well. Also, there’s still plenty of time before the close, so the Wizards may have Nunn and the Picks in mind for another deal.
– Melissa Rohlin
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