The Lakers surprised a lot of people by deciding to trade Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverley… A trade that should push Russell Westbrook to the bench, and which would have obviously been influenced by LeBron James! In any case, this is what a famous insider reveals.
See you soon 38 years old, LeBron James knows full well that he is nearing the end of his career, even if he still has gas in the tank. He comes out of a season with more than 30 points on average, proof that he can still fight with the best superstars in the league, but his impact on the collective of the Lakers was less. Despite his exploits, the 2020 champions didn’t even qualify for the playoffs a few months ago.
A misstep that is not necessarily acceptable for the most prestigious franchise in the NBA, and that leaders must correct by improving the workforce. This is what they did by exchanging the very disappointing Talen Horton-Tucker against Patrick Beverley, who should replace Russell Westbrook in the starting 5 and bring the defensive touch that was so lacking.
LeBron’s extension spelled the death knell for THT
But how to explain this sudden turnaround, when THT was considered untouchable last summer, especially when negotiating with the Raptors for Kyle Lowry? According to Marc Stein’s revelations in his latest article, LeBron James would be involved in this decision, but not necessarily directly, as he has been able to do in the past:
The Lakers were clearly reluctant to trade Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverley in July when talks began between the two franchises. The Lakers wanted a younger, faster and above all more athletic workforce than last season, and THT matched the criteria. In the space of six weeks, things changed for two reasons, the first being the end of the Kevin Durant soap opera at the Nets.
The second thing is that LeBron James decided to sign a two-year extension for almost $100 million, which prompted the leaders to build a squad capable of fighting for the title immediately. Bringing in the experienced Beverley goes in this direction, even if he will have to justify the choice on the ground. Beverley has played 96 games over the past two seasons.
It was LeBron’s extension for two seasons that would have changed the situation and pushed Rob Pelinka to mount this exchange, which was applauded by the majority of Lakers fans. With Patrick Beverley, the workforce seems to be much more balanced, since he will be able to take care of the dirty work and support Anthony Davis defensively, where THT was struggling to really find its place. But in the end, only the terrain will prove the GM right or not…
The influence of LeBron James remains enormous at the Lakers, the proof with this affair. The leaders could already be thinking about the aftermath and starting a transition phase, but they want to allow the King to play for the title, even if it means firing the young nuggets.