There is no better "win now" package than acquiring LeBron James. The King has four titles with three different teams, he has been in almost every NBA Finals series since 2010, and it is now safe to say that no one is better at turning a team into a contender overnight than LeBron James. The quick turnaround comes with a cost, and that is your team's young talent. Since acquiring LeBron in 2019, the Lakers have sent top picks Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, and Kyle Kuzma to new homes after their initial stints in Los Angeles.
Due to the Lakers' marketability, the basketball world loves to indulge in roster speculation when discussing the championship hopes of the purple and gold. With the number of rumors that make it to the Los Angeles Lakers news cycle, many of them end up being completely false. Recently relocated forward Kyle Kuzma is no stranger to this, and thinks that the rumors surrounding the Lakers' Talen Horton-Tucker are more fiction than fact.
Kuz was a constant subject of trade rumors while playing alongside LeBron James, but despite all the talk, he was only dealt in the offseason for a deal that brought Russell Westbrook to Los Angeles. However, Kuzma could be wrong about the Lakers and THT this time around, as the young star is the only attractive trade asset they have at the moment. If last year the Lakers felt like the only reason they were not competing for a championship was their health, this year already feels very different.
Had Pelinka been willing to part ways with Horton-Tucker, the Lakers would have Kyle Lowry as their starting point guard right now. THT, unfortunately, does not fetch the same price anymore. He has struggled throughout this first quarter of the season, and the Lakers do not have any complimentary pieces to attach to a package for the players they need.
The Lakers seem to be willing to mortgage their future for a chance to add more stars to their lineup to compete for a title. The purple and gold have oddly emerged as frontrunners to land Ben Simmons and to do so, THT will be Philadelphia's coveted asset. Trading young talent for superstars is the Lakers' and LeBron's bread and butter, but this time it no longer seems like they are winning the arms race. This time around, it looks like desperation.