Rui Hachimura: Returning To Lakers In Free Agency Was Always First Option
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have made most of the moves that they are going to make in free agency. Rob Pelinka and the front office made it a priority to bring back the core of last season’s team that made it to the Western Conference Finals and one of the biggest pieces of that was forward Rui Hachimura.

The Lakers brought back Hachimura on a three-year deal worth $51 million after he quickly became one of the team’s most important players in the postseason. He had multiple huge games on the biggest stages and shot a ridiculous 48.7% from 3-point range in the playoffs.

Fans were surely happy to see Hachimura return to the Lakers this offseason and the forward is excited as well. Following the official announcement that he has re-signed, Hachimura spoke on how he excited he is to run things back with much of the team from last year, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I’m so excited. I’m so happy that I’m back in here. A couple months ago I got traded here from the Wizards and it’s been great. I love the teammates, the coaches, the staff, everything, and we made a good run in the playoffs. I’m so happy we can run it back next year and most of the guys are back too so I’m so excited for it.”

Of course, there was always the possibility that Hachimura could look elsewhere in free agency. He was restricted so the Lakers could match any offer and the team made it clear that they intended to do just that. But Hachimura also noted that he had no intentions of leaving anyway:

“I always wanted to come back here. This was my first option of course. Me and my agent and Rob and the team, they did a good job of what I want and what they want on both ends and I think it worked out so I’m so happy.”

Things really seemed to click for Hachimura down the stretch of last season and now he can continue to build on that for the Lakers moving forward. Still only 25 years old, Rui Hachimura has the opportunity to be a major piece for a Lakers team looking to win a championship.

Rui Hachimura expected to be in Lakers starting lineup next season

Once the Lakers team came together after the trade deadline, Hachimura found himself coming off the bench after being a starter when he first joined the team. Defensive ace Jarred Vanderbilt was inserted into the starting lineup, but it looks as if the Lakers are expecting the opposite to be the case next year.

Recent reports state that the Lakers expect Hachimura to build off his playoff success and remain in the starting lineup where he found himself in the team’s final game against Denver. With a contract of this magnitude, expectations for Hachimura are raised.

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