On Monday, the Washington Wizards announced that they have acquired guard Kendrick Nunn and three future second round picks from the Los Angeles Lakers. These picks include a second round pick (which was originally from the Chicago Bulls) in the 2023 NBA Draft, the lower second round pick of the 2028 NBA Draft between the Wizards and Lakers, and the 2029 second round pick that the Lakers have. Washington sent Rui Hachimura to the Lakers.
Nunn is a 6’3 point guard where he comes off the bench for the Lakers. He is averaging 6.7 points per game for them this season. His best two seasons were from 2019-20 and 2020-21 with the Miami Heat, where he averaged about 15 points per game and was part of Miami’s 2020 NBA Eastern Conference championship team. He didn’t play in the 2021-22 season due to injury.
Monte Morris and Delon Wright are the Wizards’ starting and backup point guards right now, so I’m confused why Nunn is here in the first place. It’s possible that he may be traded again before the trade deadline of Feb. 9. Also, it’s possible that Wright could also be on the block.
The trade also means the end of two important things. First, Hachimura was General Manager Tommy Sheppard’s first first-round pick, and now he’s gone. During his nearly four-year tenure in Washington, Hachimura averaged 13 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season and has been a consistent double-digit scorer throughout his tenure in D.C.
However, Hachimura’s role gradually dipped from a starter his first two seasons (2019-21 to being a backup in his two most recent ones) as Kyle Kuzma became the favored player at power forward. In addition, the Wizards did not extend Hachimura’s contract. As for the Lakers? They are viewing Hachimura as a potential longer-term piece. They intend to re-sign him after this season.
The trade also marks the apparent end of the Wizards’ focus on the Japanese market. Hachimura was born and raised in Japan before playing college basketball at Gonzaga. He was one of the 2020 Olympics’ most featured athletes as the Japanese men’s national basketball team played in the group stage. While Hachimura was on the Wizards, the team invested in a website and social media accounts for Japanese fans. Now, my guess is that they’ll go dormant.
I always thought Hachimura was a good, if not All-Star caliber player. And I wish him the best. Also, let’s give Kendrick a warm welcome to D.C.