After days of speculation and a panicked trade deadline day, Kyle Lowry is staying with the Toronto Raptors.

The Lakers and Heat were unable to reach an agreement. Per Shams Charania, Talen Horton-Tucker was the breaking point for the Lakers. Miami was not willing to give up Tyler Herro.

The Heat picked up Victor Oladipo just before the deadline. Philadelphia landed George Hill without giving up Danny Green, Matisse Thybulle or Tyrese Maxey. It’s the Lakers who have stuck with what they had, retaining Horton-Tucker, Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell.

Dreams of adding a third All-Star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis have faded. The Lakers will undoubtedly hit the buyout market, but they aren’t going to find any player as impactful as Lowry.

Adding a third star

LeBron is in the twilight of his career. This is a win-right-now moment for the Lakers. Trading a 2027 pick and Horton-Tucker shouldn’t have stopped them acquiring Lowry.

       

If reporting is accurate, Horton-Tucker was the difference between the Lakers adding an All-Star point guard and not. As exciting as Horton-Tucker is, it’s worth giving him up to increase their title chances in 2021 and 2022.

Adding Lowry’s mix of shooting, defense and playmaking would have made the Lakers comprehensive title favorites. Of course, this is all reliant on LeBron and Davis getting healthy in time for the playoffs, but if they are without their stars, the presence of Horton-Tucker, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Schroder isn’t going to make much difference.

This was an opportunity for the Lakers. With the nature of player movement in the NBA, with contracts, with the cost of trading for stars, they aren’t meant to get this sort of chance. The Lakers went all-in for Davis and are only just below the hard cap. Yet, they still had enough to get Lowry (in theory).

It was an unique opening. It was the sort of moment teams with two all-time talents should seize.

Playing it safe can be justified. The Lakers, when healthy, are still title favorites for many.

Adding Lowry to LeBron and Davis would have increased their chances in 2021 and 2022 (assuming an extension), though. Isn’t that all that matters?

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