The Los Angeles Lakers are continuing to deal with the ramifications from their last-minute decision to trade for Russell Westbrook instead of Buddy Hield. Not only is the Westbrook fit proving to be complicated, but Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka likely ruined his chances of making a deal with the Kings any time soon.
During a December 10 interview on the FnA Podcast, Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus revealed that the Lakers have been linked to Harrison Barnes in recent years, but the Kings are unlikely to make a deal with Los Angeles after the failed Hield trade.
“Harrison Barnes is another guy I know that they had interest in, the Lakers did, but [Lakers general manager] Rob Pelinka doesn’t have a great relationship right now with the Kings, because he had them on the doorstep of the Buddy Hield deal,” Pincus detailed. “And from their point of view, from what I understand, he reneged on a deal, which is bad business from their point of view. And so, trusting him in another deal may be unlikely.”
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Horton-Tucker Would Likely be in a Potential Trade for Barnes
A hypothetical Lakers deal for Barnes would likely involve Talen Horton-Tucker, but Los Angeles would need to add other players to make a trade work within the salary cap. Barnes has a $20.2 million salary this season as part of his four-year, $85 million contract.
The No. 7 pick in the 2012 NBA draft is averaging 17.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 39.1% from behind the three-point line in his 28 starts this season. Even if the Lakers and Kings still had a strong relationship, Pincus admitted Horton-Tucker may not be the best fit on the current Sacramento roster.
“From his point of view, he [Pelinka] was successful, what his goals were he achieved and the Kings should be disheartened and upset and distrustworthy of Pelinka from here on out,” Pincus added. “And if that means that of the 30 teams, the Lakers only have 29 they could trade with, if that’s 28 now because the Kings want to put ’em on their blacklist for now, then so be it. If you can’t get Harrison Barnes, if that’s who they want, not that the Kings need Talen Horton-Tucker.
“…The Kings have [De’Aaron] Fox and they have Davion Mitchell and they have [Tyrese] Haliburton, so it’s a little bit less of a fit there. And the Lakers just don’t have the pieces, so even if the Kings wanted to make a trade. Where does Talen Horton-Tucker go if they trade him? Who wants him enough that they’ll make a deal that will get the Lakers a piece that would really help them?
The Lakers Have Been ‘Active’ in Trade Talks: Report
While a Lakers-Kings trade may not be on the horizon, general manager Rob Pelinka still appears to be active in trade talks with other teams. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Lakers are looking to make a deal before the trade deadline.
“I spoke to LeBron’s agent Rich Paul and he said that talk [trade rumors] is in itself is just ridiculous and it’s totally false,” Charania noted on The Pat McAfee Show on December 22. “LeBron James isn’t leaving the Lakers, he’s gonna be on the Lakers. Now the question is how can the Lakers get better? This is their team. This is the hand that they’ve been dealt. They made that trade for Russell Westbrook in the summer and it hasn’t paid dividends. This team doesn’t look like it has the young legs that they need to have and that’s why I’ve heard that they have been active in the trade market.
“When you look at a guy like Ben Simmons, they’d love to get their hands on a guy like him [or] Jerami Grant. Those are the types of guys that they need on this team. Young 6’9″, 6’10” athletic wings [that] can handle the ball, can score, can pass. They need guys like that. They don’t have enough of them that have the youth, in their prime, type of experience. But no, LeBron James isn’t going anywhere. I spoke to Rich Paul, his agent, he said that stuff is just totally false. So, I’m here to set the record straight.”