Rui Hachimura Contract: Smart Trade Deadline Move Is Paying off Huge for Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers scored a stunning upset in Round 1 of the 2023 Western Conference NBA Playoffs. And who scored the most points to put the Memphis Grizzlies away? LeBron James? Anthony Davis? Nope. It was Rui Hachimura. The 2023 trade deadline acquisition was an excellent move by general manager Rob Pelinka, and no matter what happens with the next Rui Hachimura contract, the deal was a success after Sunday’s playoff performance.
The Rui Hachimura contract
Lakers forward Rui Hachimura was the No. 9 overall pick by the Washington Wizards in the 2019 NBA Draft. As such, he just played out the final year of his rookie deal.
The initial Rui Hachimura contract was a four-year, $20,341,348 pact with an annual average salary of $5,085,337. During the 2022-23 NBA season, Hachimura had a base salary of $6,263,188.
Entering the 2023 offseason, Hachimura will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Lakers will be able to offer him a one-year qualifying offer to sign or match an offer sheet that another team provides.
To get Hachimura on the qualifying offer, it will cost the Lakers $7,744,600 next season. That’s down from $8,486,620 because the player didn’t meet the “starter criteria” to be eligible for the larger figure.
According to NBA.com, to hit the starter criteria, a player must start at least 41 games or play 2,000 minutes in the season before restricted free agency or average that in the last two seasons before hitting the market.
Hachimura started over 41 games in his first two seasons but only 22 in his second two. He’s also never played more than 1,797 minutes in a campaign.
If the Lakers can get a new Rui Hachimura contract for 2023-24 at less than $8 million, it will be a huge win for the franchise, especially after what he did in Game 1 of the NBA playoffs vs. the Grizzlies.
The Lakers are now title contenders thanks to trade deadline deals
Rui Hachimura led the Lakers to a Game 1 victory in the 2023 NBA playoffs with a stellar 29-point performance in Memphis against the No. 2-seed Grizzlies. In the game, the 25-year-old forward played 30 minutes and got his points going 11-of-14 from the field, 5-of-6 from 3-point range, and 2-of-2 from the foul line.
The Grizzlies simply had no answer for the inside/outside threat Hachimura posed in this game.
Having a young wing who can put up games like this in the NBA playoffs seemed completely impossible for the Lakers early in the season. The team was old, and the bench was short, making a playoff berth, let alone a win, seem unlikely.
However, GM Rob Pelinka made some shrewd moves, and now the Lakers are legit contenders.
He dealt Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks to the Wizards for the Rui Hachimura contract and sent Patrick Beverley and another second to the Orlando Magic for Mo Bamba. Finally, a Russel Westbrook trade sent the veteran guard out with a top-four protected 2027 first-rounder and another second-rounder while bringing back D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt.
All of these new Lakers (except Mo Bamba) played significant roles in Sunday’s win, and if they keep it up and LeBron James and Anthony Davis stay healthy, LA could make a deep playoff run.