With the Los Angeles Lakers out of the playoffs, all eyes turn toward the draft and free agency. Unlike last season, the Lakers have several decision to make on key free agents.
One of them is Rui Hachimura, who will be a restricted free agent, though early signs indicate that Los Angeles is going to try and retain him.
Hachimura took some time to get going, but really found his stride in the postseason when he became an integral part of the rotation. The Japan native reflected on his time with the Lakers and had nothing but good things to say.
“Man, first of all it was crazy. Crazy three months for me. Crazy meaning good, though,” Hachimura said at his exit interview. “It was one of the best times of my life. Literally three months ago, four months ago I was in a different team in the east coast and all of a sudden I’m here in LA, one of the biggest team in the NBA and making this crazy run. When I got here I think we’re not even gonna make the playoffs. We’re not a playoff team yet. And we got a lot of trades and then we start the winning the games. We get the seventh seed, right, and then we got to the Western Conference Finals.
“For me, it was one of the best moments and I think I had a good experience. I learned a lot of things from of course LeBron, AD, the coaches, Phil. It was just for me…I feel like I had two, three seasons this year and it was just great for me. I think it’s gonna be great for my career.”
Regarding his upcoming free agency, Hachimura couldn’t say much about where he was leaning but did sound grateful for the chance to play for the Lakers.
“I think just like playing with LeBron, AD especially us three on the floor it I think it was a really big impact against any team in the NBA. I think for sure the front office they’re of course looking for and of course I’m a free agent or whatever, but for me just these three months were good for me. I really had fun, I learned a lot of things from LeBron, AD, the coaches, the whole organization. So yeah, I just want to thank for this opportunity.
“For me at the end of the day, I’ve always been good with my agents. Jason and Matsu they’re always being really grateful for me. We’re a team and we always make a good decision together. Honestly, I can’t say anything right now but I’m just gonna talk to them carefully and we’re gonna decide what we’re gonna do. I trust them a lot. I’m not saying it’s gonna be up to them, but their option’s gonna be really big.”
Hachimura is in line for a sizable raise after his playoff run, and the Lakers would be wise to put their money where their mouth is as he could be a long-term piece for them going forward.
Austin Reaves says Lakers feel like home
The other key free agent Los Angeles should lock up is Austin Reaves who, like Hachimura, went on a tear in the postseason. Reaves has been honest about his desire to stay with the Lakers and reiterated that statement when he said they feel like home.
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