Lakers’ Rui Hachimura on future: ‘I just want to be somewhere I can be happy’

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Lakers' Rui Hachimura on future 'I just want to be somewhere I can be happy'

Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura has enjoyed playing on the West Coast in purple and gold. However, the fourth-year wing is unsure of his future. During a segment on ESPN’s “Hoop Streams” prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, Hachimura discussed the Wizards-Lakers trade.

“The reason why I requested the trade is that I wanted to be somewhere I could be happy and play basketball, that liked me as a basketball player, that believed in me, and the Lakers were one of the teams that was really interested in me,” Hachimura said.

Referring to a few NBA betting sites, the Lakers hold eighth-shortest odds to win next season’s championship in 2024. Sportsbooks show the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Golden State Warriors with better odds.

Go to the 24-minute mark in the YouTube video below.

“My agent and the team did a good job, and I went to the Lakers, and it was a crazy season for me,” Rui Hachimura added. “Back at that time, we didn’t even know we were going to make the playoffs.

“So we made the playoffs, and the playoff run was pretty good. We lost to Denver, but it was pretty good for us. … I don’t know my future, but I just want to be somewhere I can be happy. The Lakers have been good, and we’re going to see.”

Rui Hachimura appreciates playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, wants to play somewhere he can be happy

In late January, the Wizards traded Rui Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kendrick Nunn, a 2023 second-round draft pick, a 2028 second round draft pick, and a 2029 second-rounder.

The conditional 2023 second-round pick is owned by the Chicago Bulls, and the 2028 second-rounder is least favorable. Of course, the 2029 second-rounder is owned by the Lakers. Washington also received a trade exception.

Furthermore, Hachimura is at the end of his four-year, $20.34 million contract he signed with Washington in 2019. If he decides to re-sign with the Lakers, the forward has until June 29 to ink his one-year, $7.74 million qualifying offer. His qualifying offer dropped from $8,486,620 to $7,744,600 due to the starter criteria not being met.

Additionally, the Lakers plan to sign Anthony Davis to an extension this offseason, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported earlier this week on “Get Up.” Davis’ five-year, $189.9 million contract carries an early termination option after the 2023-24 season, meaning Davis can enter free agency at 31 years old.

Nonetheless, Davis won’t be extension-eligible until August, at which point the Lakers could offer him a three-year contract worth $167.5 million. As for Hachimura, it would be wise for G.M. Rob Pelinka to retain the Gonzaga product.

In 63 appearances of the 2022-23 regular season, Hachimura averaged 11.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 23.3 minutes per game. With the Lakers, the forward logged 9.6 points, 4.7 boards, 22.4 minutes per game in 33 appearances. He made all nine of his starts this past regular season with L.A.

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