Among the cadre of young players the Los Angeles Lakers acquired at midseason that turned their season around, Rui Hachimura had one of the biggest impacts.
He struggled and seemed invisible at times during the regular season, but he had a number of big games during the playoffs to help the Lakers reach the Western Conference finals. After averaging 9.6 points a game in the regular season, he contributed 12.2 points per contest in the playoffs while making 55.7% of his shots and shooting an unreal 48.7% from 3-point range on 2.4 attempts a game.
He will be a restricted free agent this summer, which means LA will be allowed to match an offer made by another team. However, doing so could cost it a small fortune, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (h/t Silver Screen and Roll).
Via Yahoo Sports:
“During extension conversations with the Wizards, sources said, Washington began negotiations offering Hachimura around $12 million per season, and eventually moved into the $13 million-14 million range. Meanwhile, Hachimura’s side preferred something closer to a four-year, $60 million structure. He seemed destined for that number towards the end of the regular season. Los Angeles doesn’t surrender three second-round picks for Hachimura at the deadline without a rough understanding of his salary wishes. Following a strong playoffs, where the 24-year-old forward played critical closing minutes and started the Lakers’ final outing, that $15 million in average annual value seems like the floor for Hachimura. Josh Hart’s extension talks with New York are expected to approach $18 million annually, sources told Yahoo Sports, and the NBA free-agent marketplace tends to be a comparative economy.”
Keeping Hachimura, as well as their other key players who will be free agents, is reportedly a high priority for the Lakers. But there is always the chance that they instead go after a big name such as Kyrie Irving.
Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire