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Report: Lakers refused to trade Talen Horton-Tucker for Kyle Lowry

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry vs. Lakers

Orlando, FL - AUGUST 1: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors passes the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers on August 1, 2020 at The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

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

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

And not to the Lakers, who stood pat.

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 (to be conveyed in 2026 or 2027) could have enticed Toronto.

But the Lakers wouldn’t go that far.

Jovan Buha and Bill Oram of The Athletic:

Multiple sources told The Athletic that the Lakers and Raptors discussed a trade that would have sent both members of Los Angeles’ starting backcourt, 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 that, Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations, insisted that price was too high for the 35-year-old Lowry, and that he was not willing to trade Horton-Tucker, the 20-year-old combo guard who has emerged as a valuable rotation player for the Lakers in his second season.

Horton-Tucker is an impressive young player. A distant Lakers first-rounder offers major upside. Schroder and Caldwell-Pope are starters on a good team.

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

I would have traded either Horton-Tucker or a first-rounder in a package for Lowry. Including both would have been difficult to swallow, but neither will help the Lakers as much this year as Lowry would have.

Lowry is a highly productive player. He’s smart and mentally tough and plays a style that would have fit well in Angeles.

He’s also 35, declining and seeking 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 chafed when he felt the Heat and Cavaliers weren’t doing enough to help him win. LeBron has shown far more commitment to the Lakers. Them trading for Anthony Davis then winning a championship obviously helps. But I do wonder how LeBron feels about yesterday’s outcome.