Talen Horton-Tucker has emerged as one of the most promising Los Angeles Lakers players on their roster, but they were not the only ones who were interested in the swingman. The Athletic’s Tony Jones noted the Jazz were hoping Horton-Tucker would fall to them in the 2019 NBA Draft.
“THT is really good,” Jones tweeted on April 19. “The Jazz were hoping he would fall to them a few years ago.”
The Lakers were without a pick in the draft and had to make a deal in order to land Horton-Tucker. Los Angeles traded with Orlando for the No. 46 pick, just seven spots ahead of where Utah ultimately selected Justin Wright-Foreman with their preferred target off the board.
Jones added that the Jazz attempted to trade up to land Horton-Tucker but was unsuccessful. The team was without a first-round pick and lost out on the guard to the Lakers. The Lakers and Jazz have had an interesting rivalry this season as Utah is currently the favorite to be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
The latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
The Lakers Were Unwilling to Trade Horton-Tucker in a Deal for Lowry
All indications are the Lakers had a deal on the table with the Raptors to acquire star point guard Kyle Lowry, but the team was unwilling to include Horton-Tucker as part of the trade. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Bill Oram, this proved to be the sticking point in preventing the Lakers from landing Lowry.
“Multiple sources told The Athletic that the Lakers and Raptors discussed a trade that would have sent both members of Los Angeles’ starting backcourt, Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and likely some draft compensation to Toronto for Lowry,” Buha and Oram detailed the day following the trade deadline. “Throughout Thursday morning, sources said, the sticking point was the inclusion of Talen Horton-Tucker. The same sources said that, Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations, insisted that price was too high for the 35-year-old Lowry, and that he was not willing to trade Horton-Tucker, the 20-year-old combo guard who has emerged as a valuable rotation player for the Lakers in his second season.”
T.H.T. Will Be a Restricted Free Agent After the Season
The Lakers may have been unwilling to trade Horton-Tucker, but the team still faces a big decision this offseason. Horton-Tucker will be a restricted free agent this summer which means he can sign an offer sheet with a team, but the Lakers will have an opportunity to match. The Lakers guard described himself as “appreciative” for the team not trading him at the deadline.
“Talen Horton-Tucker after hearing his name in trade rumors and reportedly being untouchable in a potential Kyle Lowry trade: ‘I’m just appreciative of still being here,'” ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said on Twitter on March 26.
Multiple executives told The Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner that the Lakers made the right decision not to trade Horton-Tucker. If the Lakers wish to keep the talented guard, they are likely going to have to sign him to a lucrative long-term deal. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Horton-Tucker could land a deal in the four-year, $60 million range.
“In talking to now three NBA front office executives, all of them said a resounding ‘No’ about the Lakers including THT in any potential trade for Kyle Lowry,” Turner explained. “THT is liked that much by scouts. And the Lakers love his potential and upside.”