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As the Los Angeles Lakers sit here mulling the possibility of trading their 2027 and/or 2029 first-round pick(s) in an effort to put an honest contender around LeBron James and the suddenly spectacular Anthony Davis, it appears they could have an even stronger package to put forward with a third first-round pick from Toronto. 

The Raptors "would've traded a first-round pick for Talen Horton-Tucker" last season, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, but the Lakers declined and later moved THT (along with Stanley Johnson) to the Jazz in exchange for Patrick Beverley, who is scoring 4.5 points per game on 27 percent shooting for L.A. this season. 

The Raptors fancied THT for a while (he is a quintessential Toronto player; big and versatile with developmental upside). Back when the Raptors were trying to move Kyle Lowry, multiple reports indicated the Lakers were in position to land the championship point guard if only they had been willing to include THT in their outgoing package. 

So they wouldn't move THT for Lowry, who would've been perfect for them two years ago. They wouldn't move THT for a first-round pick, which would increase their trade leverage considerably. But they will move THT for Patrick Beverley?

You hate to do the hindsight-is-20/20 thing, but how in the world can Rob Pelinka keep getting away with this? This guy's decision history could serve as the syllabus in a "how to drive a championship contender into the ground" master class. Yet here he is, with his feet kicked up in the big office lighting fire to the final shreds of LeBron James' prime with some kind of protective Buss bubble around him. 

I want to believe I'm missing something. That we're all missing something. Surely an NBA GM knows better than us pontificators. But with each decision Pelinka makes, it becomes increasingly clear that he's actually the one not seeing clearly. Maybe the Lakers can still get this right, or at least semi-right. That's the margin for error that you're gifted when you reside in the NBA's geographical hot spot with an iconic brand on your chest and LeBron James on your roster, but Pelinka is doing his best to neutralize, if not entirely eliminate, these inherent advantages.