The Rui Hachimura trade saga lives on! Every week there is more news about the potential transfer of the Wizard big man, as we closely approach the deadline of February 9th and teams like the Bucks, Cavs and Kings trail behind him.
However, the Japanese star tries to say the least possible about the transfer concerns, and focus entirely on his game. And boy, he sure concentrated this weekend as he dropped 30 points in Washington’s victory over Orlando. In his last 10 games for his team, the power foward has always scored 20 or more points except for a 19-point game on January 6th against the Thunder.
As the Wizards beat the Magic 138-118, Hachimura also won 5 rebounds and handled two blocks. Watch some of his best highlights from the weekend:
“I’ve just got to keep focus on the moment right now,” he said as journalists gathered around him after scoring 30 points that night. “I know all the stuff going on right now (addressing the transfer rumors). I’ve just got to play the games and just to be myself… I just got to play my game. I know what I can do, and I can help the team to win. It’s either here or other team. I can help teams.”
You could tell he was trying his best not to talk about all the trading speculation around him, especially after a man of the match performance, but simply couldn’t resist the temptation of letting his feelings be known to the public. “I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player, and I want to be somewhere that likes my game,” Hachimura would go on to say.
Let’s get things straight here. The Japanese player was an undisputed starter for the Wizards during his first two seasons, but ever since the 2021/22 campaign, he’s only started 13 times. When we asked if he will stay in Washington to continue his career, he released an uncomfortable giggle and replied: ”I don’t know. We’ve got to find out.”
Rui Hachimura on trade rumors
“I just want to be somewhere that wants me as a basketball player. I want to be somewhere that likes my game.”
“I just got to play my game. I know what I can do and I can help the team to wins. It’s either here or other teams.” pic.twitter.com/IFzHkxHyPO
— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) January 22, 2023
Since the beginning of the year, the Wizards have reportedly begun trade talks with multiple teams focused mainly on Hachimura. As the Washington foward is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of this tournament, many teams have grown in interest for his talent. This season so far, Hachimura is averaging 12.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists, having played 24.3 minutes per game, over 30 in total.
Mavs, Kings and Bucks are after the Japanese star
Many teams are now involved in this saga. It was talked about in the press over the weekend that the Mavericks and the Kings have been negotiating for the 24-year-old since the year started. But just today, rumor has it that the Milwaukee Bucks just made Hachimura their main target before the transfer deadline.
— NBATradeReport (@NBATradeReport) January 23, 2023
Not too long ago, the Phoenix Suns and the Wizards were linked with an unlikely trade between the Japanese star and Jae Crowder, which would’ve meant the veteran’s return to Washington. Expect that it always seemed unrealistic, considering Crowder hasn’t played this season yet and is probably out of shape.
It seems as if Hachimura isn’t the only foward who is receiving attention from other teams, as Kyle Kuzma is on huge demand. Nevertheless, the head of the Wizards have said before how much they value their player and are already in talks to re-sign him over the summer.