New Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham told Dave McMenamin of ESPN on July 8 that he loves everyone on his roster. However, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley believes the purple and gold should make a trade before the 2022-23 season starts.
In a July 13 column, Buckley proposed that the Lakers trade small forward Talen Horton-Tucker and a 2023 second-round pick to the Detroit Pistons for combo guard Alec Burks.
“Detroit’s future looks too bright to view without protective lenses, but its present could remain bleak for at least another season,” Buckley wrote. “That’s why the Pistons should be interested in flipping a win-now veteran such as Burks for a 21-year-old mystery box such as Horton-Tucker (plus a second-round pick).
“Burks isn’t moving the needle for the Motor City. The possibility that Horton-Tucker might can’t be dismissed. That should be reason enough for Detroit to bite. He had a rocky 2021-22, but his length, shake and scoring tricks still form an intriguing two-way package.”
The Pistons acquired Burks from the New York Knicks on July 11. The 30-year-old, who will make $10 million next season, averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists last season while shooting 39.1% from the field, 40.4% from beyond the arc and 82.2% from the free-throw line.
Burks Is a Better Fit for Lakers Than Horton-Tucker Is
Burks is a better fit for the Lakers than Horton-Tucker is since he can shoot the 3-ball well. The Colorado product is a career 38.0% shooter from beyond the arc with the Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Knicks.
McMenamin reported on June 30 that the Lakers’ priority as the offseason unfolds is to address outside shooting. Last season, Los Angeles ranked 22nd in the NBA in 3-point shooting, hitting only 34.7% of its team attempts. Burks made 157 3-pointers last season. He could be the ideal floor spacer next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Missouri native can also handle ball-handling duties and create his own shot off the dribble. Burks scored at least 20 points nine times for the Knicks in 2021-22.
Horton-Tucker Struggled Last Season
Horton-Tucker appeared in 60 games for the Lakers last season. He averaged 10.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 41.6% from the floor, 26.9% from beyond the arc and 80.0% from the free-throw line. The Chicago native will make $10.3 million in 2022-23.
The Orlando Magic drafted Horton-Tucker with the 46th overall pick in the 2019 draft. The Lakers saw enough in THT to buy him from the Magic for $2.2 million and a future second-round selection. However, according to a January 31 report from Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, Horton-Tucker is viewed by other teams as a “marginal asset.”
“Now that the Lakers are looking to improve their roster ahead of the trade deadline, Horton-Tucker is viewed by other teams as a marginal asset,” Pincus wrote in January. “He’s still a developing prospect, but he’s about $7.7 million more expensive this season than his contemporaries. But the bigger issue for the Lakers, above his salary, is the 21-year-old guard’s player option before the 2023-24 season.”