4 Lakers Who Won't Return Next Season

The Lakers' season is over. Who just played their final game for Los Angeles?
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 4

The Lakers' season is officially over. After a 4-1 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles is facing a pivotal offseason where they need to make tough decisions about the roster and the coaching staff.

Despite a valiant effort against the Nuggets, the Lakers showed that they are not particularly close to becoming title contenders with this core. They need to make significant changes and it will likely start with the following players.

Rui Hachimura

The 26-year-old forward failed to replicate the impact that he had in last year's playoffs. He was an integral part of the Lakers' 2023 Western Conference Finals run, making enough shots on one end and holding his own on the other. This postseason, however, he struggled to do either.

Despite starting every game and playing over 30 minutes per appearance, Hachimura only scored 7.8 points on 39.5% shooting from the field. He finished the series with 4 total assists and was basically a non-factor throughout.

After the 2023 campaign, the Lakers had given him a three-year, $51 million contract extension. Now, that doesn't look all that great. Hachimura is still a solid role player, being able to give competent minutes off the bench. However, he is not worth $17 million per year and he isn't a particularly good fit for this Lakers team.

Los Angeles needs more shooting and more defense. Hachimura is average at best on both aspects. The Lakers have to replace his salary slot with a better-fitting role player.

If the Lakers are going for big fish this summer, like trading for Donovan Mitchell, Trae Young, or another All-Star caliber player, Hachimura's contract will almost certainly have to be included for salary-matching purposes. All of these factors combined make it unlikely for him to come back next season.