Lakers Rumors: Rui Hachimura Expected To Command At Least $15 Million Annually In Free Agency
Rui Hachimura, Lakers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Following their exit from the Western Conference Finals, the Los Angeles Lakers now head into the offseason where they’ll have several decisions to make on the roster.

The Lakers have a few free agents that they should retain in order for continuity’s sake, with an important one being Rui Hachimura.

Hachimura responded to a coaching DNP in the regular season with a vengeance, finding his groove in the playoffs where he became an integral part of the rotation. That stretch led to Hachimura calling his time in Los Angeles one of the best of his life, and that’s good to hear ahead of his free agency.

Hachimura will be a restricted free agent this summer and his strong performance in the postseason has reportedly raised the floor of his new contract, via Jake Fischer of Yahoo:

During extension conversations with the Wizards, sources said, Washington began the negotiations offering Hachimura around $12 million per season, and eventually moved into the $13 million-14 million range. Meanwhile, Hachimura’s side preferred something closer to a four-year, $60 million structure. He seemed destined for that number toward the end of the regular season. Los Angeles doesn’t surrender three second-round picks for Hachimura at the deadline without a rough understanding of his salary wishes.

“Following a strong playoffs, where the 24-year-old forward played critical closing minutes and started the Lakers’ final outing, that $15 million in average annual value seems like the floor for Hachimura. Josh Hart’s extension talks with New York are expected to approach $18 million annually, sources told Yahoo Sports, and the NBA free-agent marketplace tends to be a comparative economy.

The Japanese forward has certainly looked like someone Los Angeles should prioritize keeping due to his size, athleticism and age. Hahcimura is the perfect kind of role player for the Lakers to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with, especially if they’re serious about contending next year.

The ball’s in the Lakers’ front office when it comes to Hachimura because they’ve got the ability to match any offer he receives. While luxury tax concerns will be there for ownership, the understanding around the league is in order to win a team has to spend and hopefully they conclude that Hachimura is worth the investment.

Rob Pelinka to prioritize continuity in offseason

Rob Pelinka did a great job of remaking the roster at the trade deadline, but it’ll be all for naught if he ends up letting some of those pieces walk in free agency. However, after their unexpected deep run in the playoffs, Pelinka sounds like he’s intent on keeping those same rotation players and prioritizing their chemistry and continuity.

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