Lakers Held ‘Serious’ Talks About Blockbuster Trade: Report

Lakers Rumors

Getty The Lakers have reportedly been in trade talks for Kyle Lowry.

There continued to be more trade rumors linking the Los Angeles Lakers to Toronto Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry but ultimately no deal came to fruition before the deadline. The Lakers, Heat and Sixers were all “seriously engaged” in trade talks for Lowry, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

“As trade deadline day gets going, here is what I am hearing around Kyle Lowry, according to sources: Toronto is seriously engaged with Miami, Philadelphia and the Lakers on a potential deal,” Charania detailed. “The Raptors are expected to canvass interest in their franchise staple as the deadline nears and decide whether the best offer meets their price tag.”

The Lakers needed to send some combination of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to make a deal work within the salary cap. Any deal for Lowry likely started with Schroder given the Lakers were unlikely to sign both players to extensions. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers’ failure to include Talen Horton-Tucker appeared to be the sticking point in preventing a deal with the Raptors from happening.

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Windhorst Believes the Lowry to L.A. Rumors Were a Smokescreen

Not everyone was buying the idea that the Lakers were serious about a trade for Lowry. Windhorst called the Lakers rumors a smokescreen for the Raptors to attempt to get more in a trade from the Sixers or Heat. Windhorst later added that the Lakers’ offer for Lowry was Schroder, Caldwell-Pope and Wesley Matthews.

“As of [Wednesday], the Raptors weren’t thrilled with their offers for Kyle Lowry,” Windhorst noted on First Take, per Real GM. “They’re basically negotiating with only two teams, with Miami and Philadelphia. From what I can glean from people I’ve talked to, neither one of them are putting the premium, premium package they can offer for Kyle Lowry and that’s frustrated the Raptors a little bit. Part of the issue is that Kyle Lowry wants a contract extension, or at least a new contract after this season somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million per year over two years. And that’s an issue for Philadelphia and that could contribute to their hesitancy.”

Horton-Tucker May Have Been Enough for the Lakers to Land Lowry

The Athletic’s John Hollinger suggested that Horton-Tucker could be the player that helped the Lakers land Lowry. Los Angeles has been reluctant to include Horton-Tucker or Alex Caruso in any deal. Both players are likely headed for big paydays in free agency which will leave the Lakers with a hefty luxury tax bill to retain both.

“Which takes us to an intriguing wild card: Would Toronto do this deal to get Talen Horton-Tucker’s free agent rights?” Hollinger noted. “THT is the Lakers’ best prospect, by far, and will be a restricted free agent after the season. Matching a toxic offer sheet for him this summer could be problematic for L.A., given the luxury tax issues the Lakers would already face. (That’s especially true if we’re also talking about paying Lowry to come back). Thus, it might behoove the Lakers to maximize their return right now. Including him in the deal along with a top-4 protected 2027 first, and sending DeAndre’ Bembry back to L.A. to keep Toronto out of the tax, just might sweeten the pot enough to vault the Lakers past the Sixers and Heat for Lowry’s services.”

Lakers Insiders Did Not Expect L.A. to Trade THT

The Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner did not expect the Lakers to trade Horton-Tucker, even for Lowry. The Lakers had until 3 p.m. Eastern to make a deal before turning to the buyout market to improve their roster.

“In talking to now three NBA front office executives, all of them said a resounding “No” about the Lakers including THT in any potential trade for Kyle Lowry,” Turner explained. “THT is liked that much by scouts. And the Lakers love his potential and upside. Yes, the Raptors would want a young talent like Horton-Tucker and yes the Lakers are hesitant. Dan, remember what people told you about THT in the bubble? Since this is a family chat, you can’t use that language.”

The Sixers trading for George Hill took them out of the running for Lowry, per Wojnarowski. It appears the Lakers and Heat were the top contenders to make a last-minute deal for the Raptors All-Star. Lowry is averaging 17.6 points, 7.4 points, 5.6 rebounds while shooting 39.1 percent from behind the arc in his 36 starts in 2020-21. The Lakers were reluctant to include Horton-Tucker, while the Heat would not include Tyler Herro, per Windhorst.

Los Angeles will now turn to the buyout market to potentially improve their roster heading into the team’s stretch run. Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge are expected to headline the buyout market. Both players had been linked to the Lakers leading up to the trade deadline with Drummond expected to be the team’s preference.

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