Videos by OutKick
Teasing a splash trade all year, the Los Angeles Lakers have finally made a move. Though not the one fans had expected, nay, asked for.
On Monday, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne announced that the Lakers are finalizing a deal to acquire Washington Wizards forward Rui Hacimura for shooting guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks.
Is Hachimura The ‘Rui’ Deal For The Lakers?
The 4-for-1 swap will go all in on the 6-foot-8 Hachimura, who will head into the offseason as a restricted free agent. Shelburne also confirmed that the Lakers would work toward signing Rui to a long-term deal, sealing the ninth-overall pick from 2019 as a vital addition to the team’s plans moving forward.
News of Hachimura’s acquisition was far from what Lakers fans wanted out of Washington. They hoped to reunite with former Lakers draft pick Kyle Kuzma, who’s been a leader for the Wizards with ample production — averaging 21.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and four assists on the year. Most importantly, Kuzma offered three-point shooting (34.2 percent), which the Lakers have struggled with all season.
On the other hand, Rui isn’t much of a shooter beyond the arc, but does provide length as a three-and-D guy that the Lakers have desperately missed. Plus, shipping Kendrick Nunn — one of Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka’s greater duds — out of LA was a nagging to-do on the Lakers’ checklist.
Plenty Left To Do For Rob Pelinka
To reach any point of relevance heading into the NBA playoffs, the Lakers will still need to bolster their options at center and find ample shooters in free agency.
Kuzma was infamously shipped out of LA as part of the trade to land Russell Westbrook, which set the franchise on a downward trajectory regarding roster help and the team’s purse.
The Lakers sit 12th in the Western Conference at 22-25, though they’ve been on an improved run in the past month.
Still hindered by the absence of Anthony Davis, inadequate late-game play by Russell Westbrook and a bevy of guards unable to hit shots or defend, the Lakers will need to make considerably more trades of this caliber or better ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline to reach the play-in tournament.
If this is what “win-now” looks like for LA, they may need to start lowering their expectations.