Once thought to be a backbone of the team's future, Lakers fans received a shock this week when they found out that young stud Talen Horton-Tucker was being traded to Utah for veteran point guard Patrick Beverley.
THT was by no means on track to become a star, but his potential growth as a player and display of heart on he court made him a fan favorite among Lakers fans.
With him gone now, it has many questioning just what it was that convinced GM Rob Pelinka to make the deal. Thanks to NBA insider Marc Stein, now we know...
League sources say that the Lakers were clearly resistant to the idea of swapping Talen Horton-Tucker for Beverley when the teams began discussing a potential swap in July, owing to the Lakers' desire to be younger, faster and more athletic this season. Six weeks later at least two things changed: 1) It became apparent that a trade for Kyrie Irving would not be available in the near term after Kevin Durant rescinded his trade demand in Brooklyn; 2) LeBron signed a max contract extension with the Lakers on Aug. 18 that firmly steered the franchise into an urgent win-now mode. Swapping Horton-Tucker for the 34-year-old point guard certainly qualifies as a win-now move for the Lakers, but Beverley has to stay on the floor and deliver to validate the decision to abandon Horton-Tucker when they did. Beverley has appeared in only 95 games over the past two seasons, while Horton-Tucker had previously been held out Kyle Lowry trade talks with Toronto at the 2021 trade deadline and was subsequently re-signed by the Lakers during the 2021 offseason at the expense of Alex Caruso.
It's no secret that the Lakers were waiting on Kyrie Irving before pulling the trigger on any big trades. He has been the priority for most of the summer, as LeBron James apparently holds a deep desire to reunite with his former teammate.
Sadly, the Lakers whiffed on Irving (at least, for now) and were forced to look elsewhere for opportunities to improve the roster.
They will surely miss what THT brings to the table, but Beverley might be a better fit for the team they have. As a playmaker, defender, and certified rough-rider, Bev is the type of guy who ignites a fire for his teammates and helps to bring out the best in everyone.
At the end of the day, Pelinka decided that his Lakers needed Beverley more than THT.