The Los Angeles Lakers really value Talen Horton-Tucker — so much so that they wouldn’t part with him for Kyle Lowry at the trade deadline last year and prioritized him over Alex Caruso in free agency this past summer. But how much do teams around the league value him?
Now that Horton-Tucker is trade eligible as of Saturday, Jan. 15, that’s the question that Lakers fans will be pondering until the NBA’s trade deadline next month on Feb. 10. In an effort to answer that question, I asked three writers from SB Nation’s team sites — Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys, Zach Hood of Peachtree Hoops and Mark Schindler of Indy Cornrows — to put together a package from their teams in which they’d get Horton-Tucker in return.
Here are the results.
Atlanta Hawks (Peachtree Hoops)
What I was hoping for: Bogdan Bogdanovic and Gorgui DIeng
What was proposed: Lou Willians and Gorgui Dieng for Talen Horton-Tucker
The verdict: Thanks but no thanks.
Gorgui Dieng is the exact type of center the Lakers should be targeting at the trade deadline: he can block shots, space the floor and he has just enough bounce to be a vertical threat.
But it’s safe to assume the Lakers wouldn’t accept Dieng or Lou Williams as the centerpiece of a trade package for Horton-Tucker, seeing as they’re both north of 30 years old and on expiring contracts. If the Lakers are going to trade Horton-Tucker, it’s likely going to be for someone they can see building a long-term relationship with.
Truth to be told, when I initially reached out to Hood, it was because I liked Cam Reddish (or at least the actualized version of him) for the Lakers, but the day I contacted him was the day the Hawks agreed to trade Reddish to the New York Knicks. So there’s that.
Indiana Pacers (Indy Cornrows)
What I was hoping for: Myles Turner
What was proposed: Myles Turner for Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn
The verdict: Well that was unexpected.
For months, all I’ve heard is that Horton-Tucker and Nunn won’t get the Lakers anything. Call me crazy, but Turner, the league-leader in blocks per game, is something to me.
Assuming the Pacers feel the same way about Horton-Tucker as Mark does, the Lakers’ decision-makers have to ask themselves this: Would Turner be a deviation from the small-ball lineups they believe can help them compete for a championship, or would he the missing ingredient they’ve needed to return to the super-sized lineups that won them a championship in 2020?
I personally don’t think there’s a wrong answer and, more importantly, I don’t think there’s an answer in which the Lakers lose, because Turner is a really talented player (and one who they’ve already shown interest in).
Detroit Pistons (Detroit Bad Boys)
What I was hoping for: Jerami Grant
What was proposed: Jerami Grant for Talen Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn and first-round pick
The verdict: Let’s call it inconclusive; not because the Lakers wouldn’t love to have Grant, but because Corp, who’s representing the Pistons in this scenario, is confident Detroit would get a better offer for the 27-year-old forward.
Here’s what Corp had to say about the Lakers’ package in the expansive list of potential Grant trades he wrote in December:
Another team where it’s pretty impossible to build a trade that works under the CBA. The Lakers are reportedly actually interested in Grant so I wish I could tell you any feasible deal that could actually work. As a THT skeptic, this isn’t enough. But it’s all I’ve got for you.
So, yeah: if Troy Weaver accepts that package from Rob Pelinka, it will almost definitely appease Lakers fans more than Pistons fans. It would also suggest that other teams interested in Grant weren’t willing to offer their best young prospect and/or draft compensation, which is the best-case scenario for the Lakers in regards to their pursuit of Grant.
At the end of the day, the only people that have an idea of how other teams view Horton-Tucker as an asset is Rob Pelinka and his circle of trust, but I hope this provided some insight on how other fan bases view the Lakers’ biggest trade asset going into the trade deadline, and what kinds of offers and options L.A. could be looking at.