The Los Angeles Lakers kicked off the retooling of their roster when they acquired Rui Hachimura in late January. It was a move that cost L.A. Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks, adding size to the Lakers’ roster.
Hachimura was eventually expected to start alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, however, due to further acquisitions at the trade deadline, he has only started four times next to those two in 23 games played.
His minutes have flustered, but Hachimura had a solid stretch in the middle of March. He scored in double digits in four straight games on efficient shooting. He has yet to eclipse 20 points with the Lakers, though it may be difficult with players such as Davis and D’Angelo Russell receiving higher usage.
Hachimura has done a nice job of filling his role off the bench and filling in when L.A. has been shorthanded. The Lakers will attempt to bring him back this offseason, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic and Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype:
I think the Lakers are going to try to retain him… I think his range is around the non-taxpayer MLE. I think something in that 2/20 or 3/30 (range). Looking at his numbers in Washington versus LA, they’re almost identical across the board… I think the Lakers are going to make an offer around $10 million, and if he’s looking for more or another team is willing to come in and make a bigger offer, they might be willing to walk away. They were high enough on him to trade those three second-round picks, and they want to keep him.
The Lakers immediately expressed interest in retaining Hachimura when they acquired him. The deal was made with the intention of signing him to an extension over the summer and so far, that outlook has not changed.
Not counting Malik Beasley’s team option and Mo Bamba and Davon Reed’s nonguaranteed contracts, L.A. has just four players on the books next season — LeBron, Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt and Max Christie. The Lakers will have to make decisions on important free agents such as Russell and Austin Reaves. Depending on how much those two are offered and which players the Lakers retain with the team option, there could be room for Hachimura’s return.
Jeanie Buss fought to keep Austin Reaves during trade deadline
One of the more important and popular Lakers in Austin Reaves was sprinkled in trade talks during the deadline this year. Teams were interested in Reaves, who has improved from his strong rookie year.
The Lakers stayed put on trading Reaves and owner Jeanie Buss was reportedly a key figure in keeping Reaves in L.A.
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