The Los Angeles Lakers are far from being one of the worst teams in the NBA but they haven’t played close to the level that many expected them to play this season. The team is currently seventh place in the Western Conference standings and has had some truly ugly losses. It’s not a surprise that the team is struggling considering all the new pieces they added. However, the level at which they’re struggling is a bit concerning.
If the season continues this way, the Lakers may need to consider options to retool its roster. The team gave up most of its tradeable assets in the Russell Westbrook trade but they still have some appealing pieces. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report recently gave a “ridiculous” trade proposal that would send the Talen Horton-Tucker and Wayne Ellington to the Detroit Pistons for Jerami Grant and Rodney McGruder:
The Pistons aren’t a playoff team and Grant has just one more year left on his deal (earning $21 million for 2022-23). If Detroit doesn’t intend to reinvest as the rebuild continues, Weaver could choose to go in a different direction.
Horton-Tucker hasn’t played for most of the year (thumb injury), but he’s a young, aggressive scoring guard on a friendly contract. Nunn is also a talented young ball-handler who has missed time this season (knee). The deal wouldn’t be legal until after January 15, and both Lakers should have time to prove their worth on the court well before then.
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Grant Would Be a Good Fit With the Lakers
The Lakers won’t be thrilled with the idea of trading Horton-Tucker but he’s their best trade piece. Also, Grant could be a very strong fit in Los Angeles. Trading for him would likely force the Lakers to move Anthony Davis to center full-time. Grant would take over as the starting power forward. What would be most appealing about adding him is his ability on defense.
Grant has a reputation as a strong defender and he’s added some offensive skill in recent years. He averaged 22.3 points for the Pistons last season and ended the year as a Most Improved Player award finalist. He’s a solid player that could be a great role player for the Lakers. If this deal becomes possible, Los Angeles would be wise to consider it.
Would Lakers Actually Trade THT?
The biggest reason the Lakers may avoid making a trade is the fact that they love Horton-Tucker. The team gave him a three-year contract in the offseason and sees him as an important piece going forward. At 20-years-old, he’s one of the few young players the Lakers have.
He missed the first chunk of the season with a thumb injury and finally made his debut on Sunday against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 17 points and earned the praise of head coach Frank Vogel.
“We’ll see,” Vogel said. “He’s going to be a big part of what we do, though. We know that. We invested in him this summer for a reason. We have a strong belief in that young man and what he can do on both sides of the ball. Obviously, when we get whole, we got a lot of good choices, but he’s going to be a big part of it.”
If Horton-Tucker continues to play at a high level, the Lakers aren’t going to trade him. He’s a homegrown talent and has big-time potential. Grant may be a better option if the team is looking to win now but the boost he could provide may not be much more than what Horton-Tucker brings to the table.