5 Lakers Playing Their Final Season in L.A.

There are a few key Lakers who will likely not make it back for next season.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Rui Hachimura

The 26-year-old combo forward is having a decent season, similar to Taurean Prince. He is playing 24 minutes per game, shooting 50% from the field and hitting over 38% of his threes. That is in line with the production one might expect from Hachimura.

However, the Lakers presumably expected more when they gave him a three-year, $51 million contract this past offseason. He overachieved in the 2023 playoffs when he played solid defense on Nikola Jokic and had few high-scoring games. Yet, Hachimura is not the best fit on this team as he doesn't bring much versatility to the table. He is an underathletic, score-first player who thrives in the mid-range, making him tough to play next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The ideal fit for a forward on this team would be a better three-point shooter who could also defend multiple positions. Considering that Hachimura will make $17 million for next season, the Lakers would presumably look for an upgrade. That salary is commensurate with a starter-level player and the Japanese forward hasn't proven to be that for the Lakers. His contract could be utilized in a larger package to trade for a higher-caliber starter.