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NBA trade season is here! The deadline is Feb. 9, but we’re already seeing teams kick around and even pull off deals.
On Monday, the Lakers and Wizards reportedly connected on a deal centered around forward Rui Hachimura.
Here are our grades for completed deals. Note: This story will update, so keep checking back.
Jan. 23: Lakers beef up frontcourt, reportedly make deal with Wizards
Lakers get: Rui Hachimura
Wizards get: Kendrick Nunn, 2023 second-round pick via Bulls, 2028 second-round pick, Lakers’ second-round pick in 2029
Grade for Lakers: B
This is an upgrade for the Lakers. Hachimura, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft, is averaging 13 points a game on 48.8 percent shooting, so he could help spread the floor 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 dropoff from the impressive 44.7 percent he shot last season. Also, he’s not considered to be a standout defender, which is another area the Lakers need to address, considering they’re 20th in the league in defensive rating (113.8).
That being said, the Lakers gave up very little in this deal, considering Nunn has been ineffective, averaging career-lows this season in points (6.7), field-goal percentage (40.6) and minutes (13.5). And perhaps most importantly, after standing pat at the trade deadline last season, the Lakers are signaling to their stars that they’re going to try to make some changes. Hachimura is only 24 and has a lot of upside. He’s a strong catch-and-shoot player who has proven he can make a 3 – and he has the athleticism to be developed into a strong defender.
Grade for Wizards: C
As for the Wizards, it’s clear that their priority is trying to re-sign Kyle Kuzma to a long-term deal. And after not being able to agree to a rookie extension with Hachimura, it became increasingly likely that things weren’t going to work out. The Wizards didn’t get much in return for Hachimura – they likely could’ve done better than Nunn and three future second-round picks in exchange for a recent 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 a lot of time left before the trade deadline so perhaps the Wizards have Nunn and the picks in mind for another deal.
– Melissa Rohlin
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