Lakers refused to trade Talen Horton-Tucker for Kyle Lowry

The Raptors didn’t trade Kyle Lowry before yesterday’s deadline.

Not the Heat, who settled for Victor Oladipo. Not the 76ers, who settled for George Hill.

And not the Lakers, who stood their ground.

Los Angeles could have matched Lowry’s salary with Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Talen Horton-Tucker and / or a future first-round pick (airing in 2026 or 2027) could have attracted Toronto.

But the Lakers wouldn’t go that far.

Jovan Buha and Bill Oram from The Athletic:

Various sources counted The athletic that the Lakers and Raptors discussed a trade that would have sent Los Angeles’ two backcourt members Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and likely some draft compensation to Toronto for Lowry. Throughout Thursday morning, sources said, the sticking point was the inclusion of Talen Horton-Tucker.

The same sources said Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations, insisted the price was too high for Lowry, 35, and that he was unwilling to trade Horton-Tucker, the 20-year-old. Old combined guard who has become a valuable rotation player for the Lakers in his second season.

Horton-Tucker is an impressive young player. A distant Lakers first-round game offers a huge advantage. Schroder and Caldwell-Pope are starters on a good team.

But the Lakers title window is open right now. That opportunity must be maximized. LeBron James is 36 years old and injured. As superhuman as he often seems, he cannot be counted on to defy aging forever.

He would have traded Horton-Tucker or a first-round player in a pack for Lowry. Including both would have been hard to swallow, but neither will help the Lakers as much this year as Lowry would have.

Lowry is a very productive player. He is smart and mentally strong and plays a style that would have suited Angeles well.

He is also 35 years old, in decline and looking for a lucrative contract this summer. There is a long-term downside.

But again, the Lakers should prioritize the present over the future. That’s what LeBron’s presence demands.

And sometimes, not just LeBron’s presence, but LeBron himself.

He was irritated when he felt the Heat and Cavaliers weren’t doing enough to help him win. LeBron has shown much more commitment to the Lakers. Trading them for Anthony Davis and then winning a championship obviously helps. But I wonder how LeBron feels about yesterday’s result.

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