Lakers trade for former top-10 Wizards draft pick Rui Hachimura

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The Los Angeles Lakers have made a notable move in their quest to earn a playoff spot by acquiring former lottery pick Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards on Monday.

The Lakers sent reserve guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks to Washington in exchange for Hachimura – the ninth overall choice of the 2019 draft – who will be a restricted free agent this offseason after failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension with the Wizards in October.

According to ESPN, the Wizards will receive the Chicago Bulls’ 2023 second-round pick and the Lakers' 2029 second rounder, as well a the less favourable of Washington and the Lakers' 2028 second-round selections.

Hachimura is averaging 13 points and 4.3 rebounds over 30 games this season, and matched a career-high with 30 points in his final appearance with the Wizards, a win over Orlando on Saturday.

The 24-year-old forward is a career 35.6 percent three-point shooter who will be expected to provide a perimeter presence and defense to a veteran Lakers team that entered Monday's play 12th in the Western Conference, but they sit only two games back of the sixth-place Los Angeles Clippers in a tightly bunched race.

"We are excited to welcome Rui and his family to the Los Angeles Lakers," team vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement. "Adding both size and depth to the wing position has been a goal, and the chance to accomplish that by acquiring a player with Rui’s two-way skills and upside was one that doesn’t present itself often."

The Lakers were 14-21 and near the bottom of the West standings on December 29, but have won eight of 12 since and could soon be getting back eight-time All-Star Anthony Davis from a foot injury that has sidelined him since mid-December.

Nunn signed a two-year, $10.25million contract with the Lakers in August 2021 after averaging 15 points per game with the Miami Heat over his first two NBA seasons. The 27-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, however, and has averaged just 13.5 minutes in 39 games thus far in 2022-23.

"Kendrick has shown the ability to be a solid perimeter threat who can provide instant offence as a reserve." Wizards president Tommy Sheppard said in a statement. "He has proven to be a valuable contributor during his young career, most notably as a key role player helping Miami make a run to the (2020) Finals."