The Los Angeles Lakers entered into the 2019 NBA Draft while reportedly “aggressively pursuing” a second-round pick, and on Thursday night we got to see just how true that was when the team traded for the No. 46 pick, using it to select Talen Horton-Tucker.
We knew the team had given up a future second and cash already, but on Friday night, Dave McMenamin of ESPN revealed exactly how much money the team gave up, and which year’s second-rounder they sent out:
The Lakers paid $2.2 million to Orlando last night for the No. 46 pick they used on Talen Horton-Tucker, league sources tell ESPN. The Lakers’ $5.6 million cash considerations budget will be reset on July 1 for 2019-20.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 22, 2019
Correct. 2020 2nd rounder— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 22, 2019
That’s a lot to give up for a second-rounder, so the Lakers a) really were being aggressive and b) must really like Horton-Tucker to pay that price. To put just how much in context, let’s take a look at some similar deals.
For context on how much the value of the No. 46 pick itself has grown over the last few years, the Lakers paid “just” $1.8 million to the Washington Wizards to purchase the No. 46 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. That’s been part of an overall rise in the value of second-rounders over that time, as the Golden State Warriors paid a still-record high for a second-round pick in 2017, giving the Chicago Bulls $3.5 million for the pick that became Jordan Bell.
That used to be a record for the most paid for a draft pick overall, but is now just the record for second-rounders because the Cleveland Cavaliers skyrocketed past that on Thursday night, paying $5 million and four second-round picks for the No. 30 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
So did the Lakers get a good deal? That can’t really be known, because it will mostly depend on if Horton-Tucker can reach his full potential. The Lakers must believe he can, though, because they paid (slightly) more for the No. 46 pick than the Warriors did to get a pick five slots higher:
ESPN Sources: Golden State has acquired Atlanta’s No. 41 pick in tonight’s NBA Draft. The cost: $1.3M and a 2024 second-round pick. Atlanta moved No. 44 to Miami yesterday. Hawks have Nos. 8, 10, 17 and 35 tonight. Golden State has Nos. 28, 41 and 58.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
Does that extra $0.9 million in cash matter to you? Probably not, unless you’re Jeanie Buss, and even then, still probably not. It’s not our money, and anyway, this kind of stuff isn’t done in a straight line, so it’s hard to determine the exact cost of an asset in real-time. Plus, as McMenamin noted, the Lakers’ are going to have their amount of money they can pay in trades reset in a week or so anyway, so they may as well have exhausted their full resources now.
The only reason the price is worth mentioning is to emphasize that the Lakers must really like Horton-Tucker, and it will be interesting to see if he can reward that faith over the next several years. Even if he doesn’t, this was a decent gamble on a low-cost roster spot with some potential upside, and a smart way for the Lakers to leverage their big-market money in a way that doesn’t affect the salary cap.