LOS ANGELES – After already taking a big step 2 1/2 weeks before the NBA trade deadline by acquiring Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards on Monday, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, has always stressed the urgency of updating the list.
“[We] we felt like it was an opportunity for us to strike early and fill a need in a market that turned out to be a bit slow,” Pelinka said before the Lakers lost 133-115 to the LA Clippers on Tuesday, joining Hachimura for an introductory press conference. [it] does not mean our work is done. We will continue to monitor the situation with the other 29 teams.
“…Our job as a front office is always to look to improve our team now and in the future, and we thought Rui was the perfect way to do that, and that’s why we struck early. “
Pelinka was asked if the Lakers’ pursuit of deals through the Feb. 9 trade deadline would include splitting the franchise’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in order to reach a deal. Los Angeles was able to keep those picks in the Wizarding Trade, sending Kendrick Nunn and three future second-round picks to Washington.
“I think the math for the Lakers is winning a championship or not. There’s no in-between or incremental growth,” Pelinka said. “As we analyze opportunities, we have to do it through that lens. And, I said at the start of the season, if there is an opportunity to go all the way and win a championship, there’s no resource we’ll hold on to if we feel it’s there.”
Part of that commitment to compete is driven by LeBron James, now in his 20th season, who signed a two-year extension with the Lakers in the offseason – promising the twilight of his franchise heyday while still aspiring to add to his four career titles.
“The completely reckless thing to do would be to shoot a ball early and not have it later when you have a better championship move you can make,” Pelinka said. “It’s a very tricky calculation and something that the whole front office is evaluating with every move. If we see a move that puts us in the lead to get another championship here, 18th here, we’ll do it. And if that move doesn’t show up, we’ll be smart and do it later.”
Pelinka also continued to distance himself from his previous position on the decision-making process within the front office, making it clear that the responsibility for every decision rests with him – even if he seeks the advice of senior executives. team to James and Anthony Davis.
“I think LeBron said it very well at the press conference the other night when he said, ‘My job is to play basketball. The job of the front office is to do their job and build a list. And the coach [Darvin] Ham’s job is to coach. I agree with that,” Pelinka said. “We all have to do our job and do it with excellence and all be together. This is how we operate and will continue to operate.”
James, when asked his opinion on Pelinka’s preference to hold on to his assets until a compelling trade scenario presents itself, reiterated the roles outlined by the Lakers executive.
“Rob is going to do his job, that’s his job,” James said after the Lakers loss. “My job is to be on the pitch and make sure my guys are locked in and ready to go.”
Hachimura, 24, had career averages of 13.0 points on 47.9 percent shooting and 5.1 rebounds in four seasons with Washington since being drafted with Gonzaga’s No. 9 pick in 2019.
A native of Toyama, Japan, Hachimura is the first Japanese-born player in Lakers history.
“I’m so excited about this opportunity,” Hachimura said on Tuesday. “Of course the Lakers are one of the greatest organizations. I’m so happy to be part of this family and I’m so happy to be back in LA.
“It’s so funny that when I was in college, I came here for college games… and I was joking that this was going to be my house. So it’s great that it’s happening really right now.”
Hachimura took a red-eye flight to Los Angeles on Monday and began the induction process at the Lakers training facility at 6 a.m. Tuesday, completing a physical and meeting with team staff and coaches. .
He will be available to play Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs, according to Ham. He will wear number 28.
“I’ve always been impressed with him,” Ham said. “Just a multi-faceted, strong, athletic and talented young player who I’m really delighted to have the opportunity to add to our ball club. I think he’s going to bring a lot.”