Trade No. 1 - Rui Hachimura, Los Angeles Lakers
After joining the Los Angeles Lakers at least year's trade deadline from the Washington Wizards, Rui Hachimura put on a newsworthy performance in the 2023 playoffs, helping the seventh-seeded Lakers battle through the Play-In Tournament and reach the Western Conference Finals.
This season, Hachimura is averaging 11.6 points and 3.6 rebounds on 49/37/76 shooting splits. The 6-foot 8-inches forward has played roughly two-thirds of his minutes this season at power forward, often alongside Anthony Davis at center. Hachimura's floor spacing and versatile defense has given Los Angeles a needed boost in plenty of games. He has proven himself as a playoff performer, even if last year's run was too good to be true every year.
With nearly identical salaries, a straightforward swap of LeVert for Hachimura would succeed after Hachimura is eligible for trade on January 15. The Lakers may be hesitant to surrender a key contributor from last year's WCF run, but their own struggles with bench scoring outside of Austin Reaves may sway Los Angeles to take a chance on another playmaking scorer in LeVert.
For the Cavaliers, Hachimura gives them a level of security whenever Allen or Mobley are resting, given his track record of solid two-way play. What may prevent this trade from Cleveland's side, though, is Hachimura's recent concerning calf strain. The timetable for Hachimura's return has not been released, and Lakers coach Darvin Ham has expressed a "high level" of concern for the ramifications of the injury.
Depending on the severity of the setback, this deal might fall flat, leaving the Cavs to look in another direction for a trade partner. In that case, Cleveland may find a deal with a team often linked to Cleveland in trade rumors.