Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka spoke to the media on Tuesday evening following the trade for Rui Hachimura. He said they started talking to the Wizards “about a week ago” when the young forward was made available.
“It felt like it was an opportunity for us to strike early and address a need, in a market that has proven to be a little bit slow. It doesn’t mean our work is finished,” Pelinka said, per Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter video link).
When asked by Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link) about potentially dealing away their 2027 and 2029 first round-picks, Pelinka said that option is always on the table, but only if it makes the Lakers a championship “frontrunner.”
“The calculus for the Lakers is to win a championship or not,” Pelinka said. “There’s no in between or incremental growth. As we analyze opportunities, we have to do it through that lens.”
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- Head coach Darvin Ham said he’s “super-duper excited” about Hachimura’s addition, Buha tweets. “I’ve always been impressed by him,” Ham said. “Just a multi-faceted, strong, athletic, skilled young player. … I think he’s gonna bring a lot.”
- Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores what’s next for L.A. following the deal. While he liked the move in some ways, he points out that dealing away second-rounders in 2028 and 2029 could come back to bite the Lakers if they want to try to add protections to their two first-rounders in future trades.
- Although Nekias Duncan of BasketballNews.com views Hachimura as a “mixed bag” defensively, he notes that the 24-year-old is a strong finisher in transition, so that should play to the team’s strengths — the Lakers rank seventh in the league in pace. Overall, Duncan thinks it was a worthwhile gamble, as Hachimura should have a better pathway to easy looks playing with the Lakers rather than the Wizards.
- Austin Reaves is currently sidelined with a left hamstring strain and is set to be reevaluated later this week, but he’s confident he’ll be back “soon,” as Buha writes for The Athletic. “We’re going forward, moving forward,” Reaves said of his injury. “Progress. Feeling good.” The second-year guard was able to sprint on Monday first the first time since the injury, Buha adds.