Proposed Trade Swaps Lakers Fan Favorite for Former Lottery Pick

Anthony Davis Talen Horton-Tucker LA Lakers

Getty Anthony Davis of the LA Lakers coaches teammate Talen Horton-Tucker during a game against the Sacramento Kings.

The Los Angeles Lakers may need a spark to help turn around their season and the team’s most attractive trade chip is Talen Horton-Tucker. The Lakers have been reluctant to deal the promising swingman, but the team’s options for a shakeup are limited given their current roster.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are all unlikely to be traded by February’s deadline. The Lakers will have more opportunities open up on December 15 when players like Horton-Tucker who signed new deals last offseason are eligible to be traded. Sports Illustrated’s Alex Kirschenbaum suggested three potential deals centered around Horton-Tucker that the Lakers could consider.

One proposed deal that has some level of intrigue is acquiring sharpshooter Doug McDermott from the Spurs. The hypothetical deal has the Lakers sending Horton-Tucker, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk and a 2023 second-round pick for McDermott.

“McDermott, 29, is a switchy tweener forward who continues to grow as an off-ball cutter,” Kirschenbaum explained. “At 6’7” and 225 pounds, McDermott has legitimate size and is at least a competent defender (unlike Tucker or Monk). He could fit in as a high-level offensive piece across a variety of Laklineups. An elite jump shooter (he is averaging 44.8% from the field and 43.9% on 4.8 attempts from three-point range, though his free-throw percentage at low volume has been underwhelming), he would instantly become the Lakers’ fourth-best player.

“The Spurs would probably waive at least Bazemore after the transaction. Bazemore has been disappointing on both sides of the ball this season. The 6’4″ wing has fallen out of LA head coach Frank Vogel’s healthy rotation, and has been a healthy scratch in six of the club’s last ten contests.”

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McDermott Is a Career 42.9% Three-Point Shooter

My initial thought is this is a lot to give up for McDermott, but he would be an asset for the Lakers given his shooting. The Lakers are unlikely to part with Horton-Tucker for just McDermott, but he could be a name to watch in exchange for a package of other players. McDermott is averaging 10.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists while shooting 42.9% from long range this season.

The forward is a career 42.9% three-point shooter, an area where the Lakers could use help. Given his production, McDermott’s three-year, $41.2 million is steep price for the veteran. McDermott has a $13.7 million salary this season and just signed a deal that runs through the 2023-24 season.

Horton-Tucker Is the Lakers Most Tradable Asset

Horton-Tucker is one of the few young assets the Lakers have on their roster, but the swingman has been inconsistent this season. After missing the beginning of the season with a thumb injury, Horton-Tucker is averaging 10.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists while shooting just 28.6% percent from the three-point line. After going 0-of-8 against the Knicks in November, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel admitted the team is trying to find ways to help Horton-Tucker reach his potential.

“It’s tough. We tried using him as a point guard instead of (Rajon) Rondo tonight in the minutes Russ (Westbrook) was out,” Vogel said on November 24, per USA Today. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. Again, we’ll have to look at the tape. I thought there were two plays where he went to the basket early in the game and got fouled, ended up missing the shot cause the whistle didn’t blow and sometimes, that affects your confidence.”

Horton-Tucker represents the Lakers’ most tradable asset, but the team would be wise to wait until he is playing better to consider a deal. All signs point to the Lakers keeping Horton-Tucker for the long haul, but he will likely continue to be mentioned in trade rumors as the deadline approaches.