The Los Angeles Lakers have made a trade! But not one involving Russell Westbrook. According to various reports, the Lakers will acquire veteran point guard Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson. It's a straight-up transaction— no draft picks are involved.

THT + Johnson seems like a lot to give up for Beverley, at least at first glance. Of course, it's possible — and Lakers fans will hope — that more moves are in the works, perhaps involving Westbrook. The Lakers freed up an extra roster spot in the trade — they have two open spots now — and potentially crucial cap room next summer.

The Jazz have been oft-cited as a plausible Russ taker (then buyout-er) throughout the offseason, as they seem to be on the verge of a total teardown and are looking to shed veteran salary. The Lakers are seeking depth and floor-spacing, so the prospect of swapping Westbrook (and, ideally, zero picks) for some combination of Beverley, Mike Conley Jr., Bojan Bogdanovic, and/or Malik Beasley made sense.

For now, the teams settled on this reported deal.

Horton-Tucker's third season in Los Angeles was undoubtedly a disappointment. Fresh off signing a three-year, $32 million while still 20 years old (the third year is a player-option at $11 million) — making him the fourth highest-paid player on the roster — the Klutch client, who the Lakers took no. 46 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, took a glaring step back in 2021-22. In an unnecessarily Sophie's Choice, the Lakers infamously opted to keep Horton-Tucker instead of Alex Caruso.

In training camp, Frank Vogel and Rob Pelinka — who did not include him in a package for Kyle Lowry the season prior — hyped THT as ready to step into a potentially game-changing 3-and-D guy. Instead, Horton-Tucker shot 26.9% from three and struggled defensively. (Training camp wrist surgery and a bout with COVID-19 in December didn't help.)

Overall, Horton-Tucker averaged 10.0 points on 41.6% shooting.

Stanley Johnson became an unexpected vital contributor, spiritually and defensively, to the 2021-22 Lakers. The veteran-laden roster severely lacked in the grit, toughness, and accountability departments, but the 26-year-old former lottery pick helped fill those voids when he was signed in December. Johnson shut down James Harden in the fourth quarter on Christmas and carved out a niche as one of the few Lakers whom Vogel trusted to scrap, hustle, and compete on D.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per game for the Lakers, while shooting 31.4% from three. The Lakers picked up his 2022-23 option in June.

“Me personally, I’ve enjoyed every moment I’ve had here, Johnson said at exit interviews. “I’ve learned a lot, especially being around all this Hall of Fame talent and a bunch of really good people. I will look forward to being here if they will have me, but for me, I’ve grown a lot even coming from South Bay all the way up. … I would love to have the opportunity to take a whole summer and get ingrained in what we do as an organization all over the place and be around.”

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Both Johnson and THT were question-marks to make the Lakers opening night rotation considering their one-way natures and, in THT's case, the propensity of 6'4-and-under wings on the roster. Horton-Tucker also thrives off having the ball in his hands, and part of his unproductiveness last season was a symptom of Westbrook's ball-dominant presence. Johnson, at 6'7, is a more curious inclusion in the deal, simply due to the Lakers' dearth of large, defensive-minded wings.

The Lakers can certainly expect defensive tenacity from Beverley, who averaged 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.6 rebounds while hitting 34.3% of his threes for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season. The 34-year-old, whom the Lakers drafted in the second round in 2009 (traded on draft night for a future 2nd and cash) and played four seasons for the Clippers, is due to make $13 million in 2022-23 — the final year of his contract. He was traded to Utah in the Rudy Gobert deal earlier this summer.

Surely, the Lakers would have preferred to add Beverley on the buyout market, but perhaps figured they had to act now to acquire him without sending a pick and are setting up a Westbrook move in the near future. Parting with THT now almost assures the Lakers will have to include two first-round picks in any Westbrook trade.

Beverley is now only the third active Lakers player over 30, and he's appeared in 60 games in only one of the past five seasons.

(Perhaps he knew about the trade to Los Angeles all along…)

Prior to the deal, the Lakers had only one point guard on the roster (Russ), unless you count combo guard Kendrick Nunn.

BTW, speaking of Westbrook and Beverley…


We'll see how this develops.