The Los Angeles Lakers were very close to swooping in and pulling off the biggest trade of the deadline. They were reportedly in talks with the Toronto Raptors to acquire All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. The team apparently wanted Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Talen Horton-Tucker in return for Lowry.
The Lakers weren’t willing to pay that price for a 35-year-old who is in a contract year. The major sticking point for Los Angeles was Horton-Tucker. They didn’t want to give up the promising young guard. It just shows how much faith they have that he’s going to develop into a star. After Thursday’s 109-101 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, Horton-Tucker had a chance to talk about how the Lakers refused to trade him.
“I’m just appreciative of still being here,” Horton-Tucker said after Thursday’s game, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
If Horton-Tucker keeps showing off a lot of promise, he’ll be involved in trade rumors for a while. Though he hasn’t made much of an impact this season, he’s shown so much potential. The Lakers clearly believe he has a bright future and isn’t going to give him up unless the return is worth it.
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THT Is a Free Agent After the Season
The Lakers must be feeling very comfortable that they’ll be able to re-sign Horton-Tucker to a new contract. The promising youngster is going to be a restricted free agent this offseason. While that makes it more difficult for another team to sign him, it’s not impossible that a team would give Los Angeles some draft capital for the guard.
If the Lakers just gave up on a shot to get Lowry so that Horton-Tucker could just leave in free agency, that would be a disappointing development. Los Angeles should be in a good position to keep the guard. He’s in the best situation in the NBA to learn. He gets to play next to arguably the greatest player of all-time in LeBron James. The team should also be able to pay him a decent amount in the offseason. It’s hard to imagine he’ll leave the Lakers after they’ve shown so much confidence and respect in him.
Did Lakers Make Correct Decision to Not Trade for Lowry?
Years down the road, the Lakers could look back at the decision to not trade for Lowry to keep Horton-Tucker and either be relieved or regretful. The appeal of trading for the All-Star is obvious. He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA despite getting up there in age. LeBron is also closer to 40 than he is 30 so it could’ve made sense for the Lakers to just worry about the next few years.
However, Los Angeles also has a 28-year old Anthony Davis who should play for a long time after LeBron retires. They also have to make sure the team is set up for the future. The Lakers went all out during Kobe Bryant’s later years and landed Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. That ended up setting the team back for years. Keeping players like Horton-Tucker around could help keep the team strong after LeBron calls it a quits.
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