Will contract situation light a fire under Wizards’ Rui Hachimura?

Rui Hachimura #8 of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Rui Hachimura #8 of the Washington Wizards (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Rui Hachimura enters the 2022-23 NBA season with a lot at stake. The Washington Wizards selected Hachimura ninth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft and over the last three seasons have seen reason to believe he can be a key role player but not enough to invest in him financially long term.

That means he enters the upcoming season with a variety of outcomes possible regarding his long term location in the league. Will he be a Wizard? Or could he be on the move to another team that feels more comfortable investing big money in him over the next handful of years?

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Will a fire be lit under Rui Hachimura?

It’s time for Hachimura to establish what kind of pay range his second NBA contract will be in. So far in three NBA seasons he has career averages of 13 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He has 47.7 percent from the field and 36 percent from behind the arc in the NBA.

The percentages are promising, especially when you consider how young  Hachimura still is and has been in each of his NBA seasons. Not only the percentages, though, but some of Hachimura’s best stretches have been more than promising in terms of how impactful of a player he could become.

Unfortunately, those stretches haven’t lasted long enough to get overly excited about. They’ve also not been enough to have many people ready to view him as an ‘all-star’ potential guy, a thought I have to agree with.

That means that Rui Hachimura is truly playing for a lot this upcoming season. After the year, he will be eligible to receive a Qualifying Offer from the Wizards that would be north of $8 million. That would mean he can get offers from other teams and the Wizards would have the right to match any contract.

If we don’t see a step forward from the forward, he won’t be fetching much more than $8 million on the open market. If we don’t see much progression at all, the Wizards could potentially look to spend their own money elsewhere on the market.

The one thing that is the wildcard with Rui Hachimura, is a big season that completely changes how those around the league view him. If Hachimura comes out hungrier than ever he could put himself into the double digit millions per year range, especially for a young team with cap space to invest in a player that is still developing.

What would be bad news for the Wizards retaining Hachimura long term would be good news for them in the short term. A positive of that ‘bad news’ is the ball would still remain in their court regarding retaining the forward.

Keep an eye on Rui Hachimura all season, because he is clearly playing for a lot this season. It will take significant growth for him to earn high end minutes in what is currently a pretty deep frontcourt.

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