NBA Rumors: Rui Hachimura Trade Talks Started by Wizards; Multiple West Teams Linked

Adam WellsJanuary 18, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 13: Rui Hachimura #8 of the Washington Wizards looks on in the second half against the New York Knicks at Capital One Arena on January 13, 2023 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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As he plays out the final season of his rookie contract, Rui Hachimura could be moved by the Washington Wizards ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline.

Per The Athletic's Shams Charania and Josh Robbins, the Wizards have started trade talks involving Hachimura, and "several" Western Conference teams are interested.

Charania and Robbins noted multiple teams have shown interest Kuzma, but moving Hachimura would give the Wizards more financial flexibility to potentially re-sign Kuzma and Kristaps Porziņģis this summer.

Kuzma has a $13 million player option for 2023-24, but his success this season makes it unlikely he will exercise that. The Utah alum is averaging a career-high 21.6 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting.

Porziņģis has a $36 million player option for next season. The 27-year-old could decline the money if he wants to pursue a long-term deal that could pay him more in total value. He ranks second on the team in scoring average with 22.2 points per game.

It's a bit surprising to see the Wizards trying to go even more all-in on their core of Kuzma, Porziņģis and Bradley Beal. They have the fourth-worst record in the Eastern Conference at 18-26.

Beal has been limited to 24 games due to injuries, so perhaps it's unfair to evaluate what they have done this season.

Washington's payroll is $149.9 million, per Spotrac, but the team is on track to finish under .500 for the fifth consecutive season. Its only playoff appearance during this span was during the 2020-21 season when it lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.

There's no indication what Hachimura might bring back in a trade. He has been productive in a limited role since the start of the 2021-22 season. The 24-year-old is averaging 11.9 points on 49.1 percent shooting (40.8 percent from three) in 70 games over the past two seasons.

The Wizards selected Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft. He has appeared in 175 games over the past four seasons.