Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka made clear on Tuesday that their trade with Rui Hachimura will not be the end of their deal before the February 9 deadline.
The Lakers made their first big jump of the trading season by sending three second-round picks and bench Kendrick Nunn to the Washington Wizards in exchange for their ninth overall draft picks in 2019.
They’re left with two premium trading assets – the first round picks in 2027 and 2029 – and also with Russell Westbrook’s massive contract to potentially offset any paycheck with a star coming to Los Angeles.
According to Pelinka, Hachimura felt that the move was a low-risk, high-payoff deal that made sense as he continued to pursue larger fish.
“[We] “I felt there was an opportunity for us to act early and fill a need in a market that has proven to be a bit slow.”
“This doesn’t mean we’re done, we will continue to monitor the situation with the other 29 teams.
“Our job at the front desk is to always try to develop our team both now and in the future, and we felt Rui was the perfect way to do that, so we took early action.”
The Lakers were tied to a number of deals, including a reported trade for Indiana Pacers duo Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, in the preseason, but Pelinka said she’s saving her bullets for a championship-changing move.
“I think the calculus for the Lakers is whether to win a championship or not,” he said. “There is no in-between or incremental growth.
“We have to do it through this lens when we analyze opportunities. And I said that at the beginning of the season, if there is an opportunity to go to the end and win a championship, there are no resources for us.” If we feel like we’re there, we’ll hold on.
“The completely unwise thing to do is to take a lead early and not take the lead when you have a better champion move to do later. It’s a really sensitive calculation and something the entire front office considers every move.”
“If we see a move that leads us to another championship here, an 18th championship here, we’ll do that, and if that move doesn’t show itself, we’ll be smart and do it later.” time.”
Lakers superstar LeBron James has occasionally let his frustration know about the urgency of not wasting the final years of his best period this year, but Pelinka said he won’t let that force him into a sub-optimal move.
“I think LeBron said very well at his press conference last night: ‘My job is to play basketball, the front office’s job is to do their job, to build a roster and coach. [Darvin] “Ham’s job is to coach.” ”I agree with that.
“We should all do our jobs perfectly and be together. That’s how we work and will continue to work.”
As the Lakers await their next big move, coach Ham shared his excitement about acquiring the 24-year-old, 6-foot-tall Hachimura.
“I’ve always been fascinated by him,” she said. “He’s a versatile, strong, athletic, talented young player and I’m really excited to have him in our club. I think he will add a lot.”
After losing to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, the Lakers are now 22-26 and 2.5 games behind the Dallas Mavericks in their race to sixth seed in the Western Conference.