The Los Angeles Lakers are finally trading Talen Horton-Tucker, but not for a return that they would have expected 17 months ago.
Los Angeles is sending THT along with Stanley Johnson to the Utah Jazz in exchange for veteran guard Patrick Beverley. It was a straight swap with no picks involved, a move that certainly makes sense for Lakers at this moment in time. For a team that has collapsed multiple times in games during the past season, they certainly need that gritty attitude that Pat Bev brings.
Not to mention that Beverley brings backcourt defense and leadership. He is not afraid to hold anyone accountable, even if it's the superstars.
However, while bringing in Beverley could be beneficial for the Lakers in the 2022-23 season, it's hard not to be in shock that he is all the team has gotten for Horton-Tucker, who was just the Purple and Gold's most prized young asset a little over a year ago. LA even had to throw in Johnson just to pull off the deal!
The trade sending Patrick Beverley to the Lakers is expected to be finalized Thursday morning, per @wojespn. https://t.co/JRVH2GVrvo
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) August 25, 2022
Remember: the Lakers once refused to include THT in a trade deadline deal in 2021 that would have landed them Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors. At that time, Rob Pelinka and co. could have gotten the All-Star guard for Dennis Schroder, Kentavious-Caldwell and Horton-Tucker along with some draft compensation.
Now we are not certain how the Lakers would have performed with Lowry in 2021-22, but considering the result of the Russell Westbrook experiment and the fact that the Miami Heat finished at the top of the East with the addition of Lowry in free agency, we can only assume it would have been way better for LA.
Indeed, the Lakers embarrassed themselves with the latest Talen Horton-Tucker trade. That's not a knock on Beverley, but rather a criticism on LA's front office. For a team that has always been built through drafts and free agency acquisitions to compete for the title every year, they certainly botched the handling of THT in a massive way.
Who knows how many more great deals the Lakers passed on to keep Horton-Tucker? There were several interests on the youngster before, but the team really had to wait until his value hit rock-bottom before moving him.
Of course hindsight is always 20/20 and it's easy to say that the Lakers failed miserably this time. But when you also consider the fact that there were other options for the team in the past season as well–like landing Cam Reddish and Alec Burks for Talen and some draft compensation–it's hard to defend the LA front office. They basically showed they were willing to let Horton-Tucker develop, only to ditch him when the market is really, really bad.
Sources: The Lakers, Knicks and Raptors have discussed a 3-team trade.
Lakers get Cam Reddish and Alec Burks.
Knicks get Goran Dragic and draft picks.
Raptors get Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel.
There’s also a chance Kendrick Nunn is added to the trade as talks continue
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) February 10, 2022
There are a lot of “What ifs” in this Talen Horton-Tucker situation. Unfortunately for fans, those questions will never be answered. The only thing the LA faithful can do now is hope for the best and pray that Beverley can make as much impact as he did during his lone stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2021-22.
As for Horton-Tucker, he'll probably benefit more with the move to the Jazz. At 21 years old, there is a lot of room for him to develop–something the Lakers just didn't have the time or resources to do so as they look to maximize the remaining time LeBron James has in the NBA.
The Lakers got a solid vet in Beverley for Horton-Tucker. That's good. But in the grand scheme of things, they took a big L.