Monday, January 23, 2023

Lakers trade Kendrick Nunn for $20m forward: report

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The Los Angeles Lakers finalize a trade sending point guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks for power forward Rui Hachimura to the Washington Wizards, according to multiple reports.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski surfaced the story.

Hachimura will become a restricted free agent this summer. The Gonzaga product, which averages 13.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 2022-23 while shooting 48.8% from field, 33.7% from beyond the arc, and 75.9% from the free-throw line shoots, has a qualifying offer worth $8.5 million. Assuming they make Hachimura his qualifying offer, the Lakers can match any deal the swingman signs with another team if he decides to agree to an offer sheet from a competing organization.

Hachimura signed a four-year, $20.3 million contract with the Wizards in July 2019. Washington drafted the forward with the ninth overall pick of the 2019 draft. Hachimura, who was born in Toyama, Japan, has career NBA averages of 13.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists while averaging 47 overall, 9% shooting, 35.6% 3-pointers and 77.6% from the charity stripe.

On Jan. 21, Sports Illustrated’s Alex Kirschenbaum wrote that the Lakers should try to take over Hachimura. The Wizards began trade talks with several Hachimura-focused teams on January 18, via Charania and Josh Robbins. Washington is looking to make room for the cap so it can re-sign former Lakers star Kyle Kuzma, who will go freelance this offseason.

“Hachimura would add some ground clearance at the four-man position, but alongside LeBron, James could potentially play a small forward,” Kirschenbaum wrote. “The 24-year-old is averaging 12.4 points on .480/.321/.768 shooting splits, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists this year, but he’s a 35.3-percent career long-range shooter and you have to hope his three-point shooting could stabilize with a new racquet. It’s a bit risky, but he’s a talented young player with many opportunities who could fill a need for LA.

Hachimura has scored 30 points twice this season. He provides additional frontcourt depth for the Lakers, who are 22-25 this season, which is good for 12th place in the Western Conference standings. Hachimura missed both of the Wizards’ games against the Lakers this season. Los Angeles won both competitions.

Nunn, who missed all of last season with a bruised right knee, averaged 6.7 points and 1.4 rebounds with the Lakers. After this season, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Nunn’s best game with the purple and gold came on January 6 against the Atlanta Hawks. The left-hander finished with a season-high 23 points off the bench.

An NBA executive told Heavy Sports senior insider Sean Deveney on Jan. 18 that Nunn was beginning to gain a foothold in the trade market.

“He could help someone,” an executive told Heavy Sports. “But they have to show that he is healthy. He’s on a very manageable contract ($5.25 million that expires this summer) and they’re aiming for greatness in this team. They obviously won’t be trading with LeBron (James) or Anthony Davis so the best package they can put out is Nunn and (Patrick) Beverley and one of their favorites (2027 or 2029). Honestly, it’s their best trade right now.”

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