After rumors heated up last week that the Wizards were working on a trade involving Rui Hachimura, the Wizards ninth overall draft pick in 2019 has officially been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that includes Kendrick Nunn and several draft picks (a 2029 second via Chicago, 2029 LA second, and less favorable of 2028 Washington/LA seconds).
The deal was completed Monday afternoon just minutes after news broke that Wizards coach Wes Unseld, Jr. stated Hachimura missed practice for “personal reasons.”
Hachimura and the Wizards were unable to agree on a rookie extension prior to the season and a trade became more likely as Kyle Kuzma solidified himself as a priority to sign to a long-term deal. The Lakers traded for Hachimura with the intention of signing him to an extension this summer.
Rui seemed to be aware that a trade was imminent when he spoke postgame after the Wizards victory against the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Hachimura was not formally scheduled to speak but media caught up with him as he prepared to leave Capital One Arena following the game.
When asked about his desire to be traded and more, he did not give the impression that he passionately wanted to stay in Washington. In fact, it felt more like the writing was on the wall for Hachimura.
“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player,” he said. “I want to be somewhere that values my game. I just want to be somewhere that trusts and believes in me, and I can be myself.”
When asked if that could be in Washington, Hachimura responded: “I don’t know. We’ve got to find out.”
Those trade rumors have now proven to be true.After Saturday’s game, Bradley Beal who has played with Hachimura his entire time in Washington, spoke highly about Rui’s growth and journey as a Wizard. He also noted that Hachimura has one of the best pump fakes in the league.
Hachimura will join former Wizards Troy Brown, Jr, Thomas Bryant, and Russell Westbrook in Los Angeles.