Rui Hachimura joined the royal family of the National Basketball Association.
Hachimura was traded from the Washington Wizards to the Los Angeles Lakers Kendrick Nunn and three second-round draft picks, the teams announced Monday (January 23).
One of Japan’s faces Olympic Games Tokyo 2020Hachimura is expected to start next door LeBron James when he is purified to be clothed in purple and gold.
The Lakers’ next game will be at home against rival Clippers on Tuesday and the host San Antonio Spurs the following day.
The winter of discontent
Hachimura, who turns 25 next month, is averaging 13.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 24.3 minutes in his fourth NBA season. He was selected ninth overall in the 2019 draft from Gonzaga University.
The Wizards did not offer the Japanese forward a rookie contract extension in preseason and preferred Kyle Kuzma in their frontcourt. Hachimura has not scored a single start this season.
On Saturday, Hachimura tied a career high with 30 points in the Wizards’ 138-118 win over the Orlando Magic. After the game, he didn’t sound like someone who is completely happy with his current situation.
“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player, and I want to be somewhere that enjoys my game, you know?” Hachimura told reporters.
“I just want to be in a place that believes in me and I can be myself. This is my objective”.
The Lakers are hoping the acquisition of Hachimura will give them strength for the second half of the season. They are currently ranked 12th in the Western Conference, one game out of the preliminary tournament.
Hachimura is expected to host his country from August 25 to September 10 FIBA World Cup co-hosted by Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia.