The Los Angeles Lakers have signed No. 46 pick Talen Horton-Tucker to a rookie contract, the team announced on Saturday. According to Michael A. Scotto of The Athletic, Horton-Tucker’s contract is a fully guaranteed two-year, $2.4 million deal. Because the Lakers were over the cap and out of exceptions, that was the most they could offer their second-round rookie.
Horton-Tucker was acquired by the Lakers on draft night in a trade with the Orlando Magic. The Magic received cash considerations and a 2020 second-round pick in exchange for Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker sat out of the Lakers’ summer league tournaments with a stress reaction in his right foot but he’s expected to be ready by training camp.
The Lakers’ roster now stands at 17. They can go into training camp with 20 players, but they have to trim the roster to no more than 15 players before the start of the regular season.
While the terms of Horton-Tucker’s have yet to be released, it normally would be safe to assume it’s a standard rookie contract with a guarantee in the first year. However, because the Lakers are over the cap, they can only offer Horton-Tucker a two-year contract with a $898,310 minimum salary in his first year, as laid out by Bobby Marks of ESPN. He’ll be eligible for $1.5 million in his second year.
It’s not impossible that the Lakers signed Horton-Tucker to a two-way contract, but considering it wasn’t released as such, it’s unlikely, meaning Los Angeles has 14 guaranteed contracts on their books. For the sake of due diligence, they’ll probably go into training camp with a full, 20-man roster, but general manager Rob Pelinka has already said the team plans to leave the final roster spot open for in-season trade and buyout opportunities.
Horton-Tucker is expected to spend the bulk of his season in the G League with the South Bay Lakers, where he’ll be able to develop his jump shot and get used to the pace of the NBA. He might not get a chance to crack the rotation this year with the amount of veterans on the roster, but at just 18 years old, he’ll be someone Lakers fans will be keeping tabs on throughout the season.
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