The 2023 NBA trade deadline is still a few weeks away but the Los Angeles Lakers decided they didn't have time to wait. On Monday, they sent Kendrick Nunn and three future second-round picks to the Washington Wizards in exchange for fourth-year forward Rui Hachimura.
While there had been rumblings about Hachimura possibly getting traded, the actual deal came out of nowhere. So much so that even Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder was stunned. The veteran was live streaming when news of the trade broke on social media.
Dennis Schroder found out about the Rui Hachimura-Kendrick Nunn trade live on his stream 😬 pic.twitter.com/dalbupWtjO— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) January 24, 2023
"What trade? Rui? Oh no, hell no," Schroder said. "Rui for Kendrick Nunn? Oh my god, I gotta text Rui. I gotta text Kendrick Nunn. That's crazy man, the NBA it's a business -- insane. Man, that's..."
The clip cuts off at that point, but you get the point. It's pretty rare to get a player's honest, initial reaction to a trade rather than a soundbite in the media hours later. As Schroder's stream shows, most of the time other players are not in the loop on everything the front office is doing, so trades are just as much of a surprise to them. Schroder, who has been traded three times in his career, certainly knows that feeling.
As for this deal, Hachimura will give the Lakers some much-needed size and athleticism in the frontcourt and cost them very little in return. There is a lot of upside here for the Lakers, especially if Hachimura can get back to shooting the 3 like he did last season when he hit 44.7 percent of 2.9 attempts per game. Playing alongside LeBron James should help in that regard. There are some real questions about Hachimura's defense, however, and he'll be a free agent at the end of the season. All in all, a worthwhile gamble for the Lakers, but time will tell how much it actually moves the needle.