The playoffs are closing in for the Los Angeles Lakers and it’s been a rocky season, to say the least. The team has dealt with many injury issues and disappointing play from some offseason additions. At the trade deadline, it appeared as if there would be a good shot that Los Angeles would try to make a deal or two.
At the time, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were sitting out with injury. Toronto Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry was the biggest name available and the Lakers got involved in trade talks. They ended up passing due to the Raptors’ steep asking price. Toronto wanted Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Talen Horton-Tucker. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report believes the Lakers should regret not making that trade:
L.A. might have more incentive than anyone to prioritize the present over the future. Landing Lowry would have been the ultimate expression of that. He still ranks among the very best at his position and is one of only six players averaging 17 points, seven assists and two three-pointers. He could have unlocked the Lakers’ half-court attack without disrupting their top-ranked defense.
That’s a big enough prize to ignore Lowry’s age (35) and upcoming free agency, especially when Horton-Tucker is approaching the open market, too. Even if the Raptors wanted a draft pick with Horton-Tucker, that would have been a reasonable (albeit steep) price for the Lakers to pay.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Lakers Were Wise Not to Trade for Lowry
Lowry is a great player and certainly would’ve helped the Lakers through this tough season. That said, he’s 35-years-old and in a contract year. Giving up Horton-Tucker, Schroder and Caldwell-Pope for a possible one-year rental wouldn’t have been worth it.
According to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, Lowry preferred to land with the Miami Heat in a trade. Knowing that information, it seems likely that the guard wouldn’t have signed another deal with the Lakers after the season.
It’s true that Los Angeles should be concerned with the present but it’s never good to be shortsighted. That’s how the team got stuck in the recent rut that saw them miss the playoffs in six straight seasons. Schroder, Caldwell-Pope and Horton-Tucker are all important players for the Lakers and it’s fair to question if Lowry brings the value that those three bring by himself.
Lakers Should Be Feeling Better
For a while, it looked like the Lakers were dead in the water. They lost eight of 10 games and fell to the seventh seed in the Western Conference. They are still the seventh seed but have picked things up quite a bit. Los Angeles has won three games in a row and still has a chance to get back to the sixth seed.
However, that doesn’t matter much. What does matter is that the Lakers are playing winning basketball heading into the playoffs. The team is getting hot at the right time and they’ve been doing it without LeBron. If they can keep up this winning pace, they’ll be the last team that anybody wants to face in the playoffs.