After the Lakers takeover Rui HachimuraCompeting executives immediately assessed what the move means in terms of trade deadlines and a free hand.
After giving up three second-round picks, the Lakers are expected to keep Rui Hachimura – Who is eligible for a $7.7 million qualifying offer and limited free agency.
Hachimura also offers the Lakers frontcourt insurance if the team is unable to hold Thomas Bryantwho is expected to order a pay raise en route to full free agency this summer.
The Hachimura acquisition means the Lakers will have a harder time chasing Star free agents, including Kyrie Irving, according to competing NBA executives who spoke to HoopsHype. The move makes it less likely that the Lakers will use the cap space, as Hachimura’s return would decrease it significantly. Winning players like Hachimura now was a scenario that our HoopsHype capologist Yossi Gozlan recently outlined as one path the Lakers could take to try and improve.
Regarding Irving, it’s worth noting Lebron James publicly vouched for Irving on social media earlier this season during his suspension with the Nets. There is a belief in the league that James would welcome a reunion with Irving in Los Angeles if possible.
As HoopsHype reported Jan. 18, several NBA executives in the league believed Irving and the Nets would continue their partnership beyond this season. A week later, Irving’s agent – Shetellia Irving – told Bleacher Report: “To date we have not had any significant discussions. The desire is to make Brooklyn a home with the right kind of expansion, meaning the ball is in the Nets’ hands now to communicate if their desire is the same.