Lakers News: Free Agent Rui Hachimura Wants To Be Somewhere Where He Can Be ‘Happy’
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Rui Hachimura came to the Los Angeles Lakers a couple of weeks before the trade deadline but didn’t truly settle into his role until closer to the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Hachimura was clearly finding his way on his new team, even getting benched at one point for no particular reason. However, instead of pouting about the situation, the forward stayed the course and eventually earned his way into a much bigger role during their postseason run.

All in all, the Japan native called his time in Los Angeles one of the best of his life though his future with the team remains uncertain as he heads into restricted free agency. While Hachimura couldn’t quite commit to re-signing with the Lakers, he did shed some light on what he’s looking for in the summer, via ESPN:

“The reason why I requested the trade is that I wanted to be somewhere I could be happy and play basketball, that liked me as a basketball player, that believed in me, and the Lakers were one of the teams that was really interested in me. My agent and the team did a good job, and I went to the Lakers and it was a crazy season for me… Back at that time, we didn’t even know we were going to make the playoffs. So we made the playoffs and the playoff run was pretty good, we lost to Denver but it was pretty good for us. I don’t know my future but I just want to be somewhere I can be happy. The Lakers have been good and we’re going to see.”

During his tenure with the Washington Wizards, Hachimura bounced between starter and bench player without a clearly defined role. He was a prime trade candidate at the deadline and fortunately the Lakers were the ones who were able to get a trade done for him.

After a successful playoff stretch, the purple and gold would be wise to bring back Hachimura even if it means spending a bit more than initially expected. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis still the fulcrum of the roster, re-signing players like Hachimura who fit around them should be the front office’s main priority.

Rui Hachimura expected to command at least $15 million annually in free agency

Originally, Hachimura appeared on track to make something between $10-12 million in restricted free agency. However, his playoff performances earned him a raise and it appears if L.A. wants to keep him then negotiations need to start at around $15 million annually.

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