After months of rumors, the Lakers have finally made a trade to upgrade their roster. Here are our NBA Trade Grades for their deal to land Rui Hachimura.
Just a few days after a candid postgame interview seemed to indicate Rui Hachimura was frustrated in Washington, the Wizards have found him a new home. Shams Charania has reported the Lakers are finalizing a deal to send Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks to the Wizards in exchange for Hachimura.
The Wizards still have several pieces that will draw interest at the deadline, specifically Kyle Kuzma, so this may just be the first move of many for them. For the Lakers, this is also likely just an opener to what could be a very active trade deadline.
Here’s who we see this deal for each side right now.
Lakers Trade Grade: B+
Even though we’re not giving them an A, this is still a huge win for the Lakers. They signal to LeBron James that they’re not just going to stand pat. They land a rotation player who has some skills that will actually be useful and they do it without sacrificing the other assets (Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley’s contracts, their two future first-round picks). Basically, this is an add-on deal, leaving them all the flexibility to still pursue something bigger over the next few weeks.
The only reason I don’t give this an A grade is that Hachimura isn’t exactly the kind of player the Lakers desperately need right now.
Hachimura can score but he’s only shot above 34.0 percent from beyond the arc in one of his four seasons. Nearly 40 percent of his possessions this season have come out of spot-ups and he ranks in the 28th percentile in scoring efficiency on that play type. All that is to say he hasn’t demonstrated much aptitude for success as an off-ball player. He has some juice creating for himself and has historically ranked well in isolations but there aren’t going to be many of those opportunities for him with the Lakers and he’s never been effective enough in those settings to really run an offense.
Again, he’s a gamble worth taking for the Lakers, especially at the price. Playing next to LeBron has a way of making everyone better and a change of scenery could be a big deal. But the Lakers can’t count on this move along being enough to change their season, they still need more.
Wizards Trade Grade: C
Maybe I’m unfairly dinging the Wizards here for actually taking Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 Draft when he appeared to have real bust potential. Maybe there was something else going on behind the scenes that necessitated some urgency here. But Hachimura’s comments this weekend weren’t exactly inflammatory and it feels a little bit like selling short. Hachimura isn’t going to fetch a first-round pick from anyone but two or even one second-rounder and a useful rotation player seemed possible and might be a better fit for where the Wizards are right now.
Maybe this deal is the best illustration of Hachimura’s value, and honestly, it’s only a win for the Lakers because they gave up so little. But the Wizards still took four years to turn a top-10 pick into Kendrick Nunn and three second-rounders. Meh.
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