Lakers ‘Shopping’ Key Rotation Player in Trade Talks: Report

Frank Vogel Lakers

Getty The Lakers could be looking to trade Talen Horton-Tucker.

The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to upgrade before the NBA trade deadline and one player may be the only way they can do that.

According to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times, the Lakers are actively shopping 21-year-old guard Talen Horton-Tucker in trade talks.

“Meanwhile, the Lakers are trying to find help, though their option appear limited. According to people with knowledge of the situation, the team is shopping 21-year-old Talen Horton-Tucker in trade discussions. Rival general managers believe the Lakers value Horton-Tucker, but they lack the mid-range contracts needed to put together a deal to upgrade their roster and understand no significant trade is getting made without him.”

Horton-Tucker is Lakers’ Only Asset of Value

The report comes as no surprise considering the Lakers will not part with LeBron James or Anthony Davis, for obvious reasons. And while previous reports have it that Los Angeles attempted to shop Russell Westbrook, that trade has no chance of coming to fruition due to his $44.2 million salary this season combined with his $47 million player option for next year.

That leaves Horton-Tucker’s $9.5 million salary and upside as the Lakers’ most appealing asset entering the trade deadline on Feb. 10. Outside of Horton-Tucker, the Lakers could pair up Kendrick Nunn’s $5 million salary and a possible 2027 first-round draft pick as assets in a possible trade deal.

However, outside of those two players, the rest of the Lakers’ roster are mostly aging veterans on minimum contracts.

The third-year guard is having a rough season as he’s averaging 10.6 points in 27.4 minutes per game on just 40.9% from the field and 24.4% from beyond the arc. In fact, it’s rather clear that the young guard is a terrible fit on this roster.

The Lakers are scoring just 97 points per 100 possessions with Horton-Tucker on the court while allowing 112 points by the same metric. That minus-15 differential is the worst mark on the team.

As the roster currently stands, the Lakers will be fighting just to avoid the play-in tournament with little chance of actually winning a championship.

While a Horton-Tucker trade likely won’t immediately lift the Lakers as title favorites, it’s their only chance at redeeming their season.

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‘No Current Plans’ to Replace Vogel

According to the same report from The Los Angeles Times, it does not appear Frank Vogel is in danger of losing his job — in contrast to a prior report from Bill Oram and Sam Amick of The Athletic indicating Vogel was coaching on a “game-to-game” basis.

“Now, though, people with knowledge of the situation insist “there are no current plans” to replace Vogel — a sign that the coach has navigated through the latest drama surrounding his position.

Still, the temperature has been rising.

According to people with knowledge of the situation, Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager, and Kurt Rambis, the team’s senior basketball advisor, met with Vogel and assistant coach David Fizdale after last week’s loss to the Sacramento Kings to discuss ways to turn things around. It was the third time the group had met in recent days.”

The report comes just days after the Lakers suffered their worst loss of the season in a 37-point beatdown at the hands of the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, January 15.

Following a gutsy comeback win over the Utah Jazz on Monday, the Lakers improved their record to 22-22 on the season — tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for seventh in the Western Conference.

While Vogel may not be fired midway through the season, it would be hard to envision the veteran coach returning for another season if the Lakers continue playing .500 ball for the rest of the year.

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