Straddling the .500 mark all season long, the Los Angeles Lakers have underperformed relative to preseason expectations, regardless of how injured they have been this season. A shakeup of some degree will almost certainly come at the trade deadline as a result.
Further adding to the Lakers problems, though, is the very few assets they own whether in terms of players or draft picks to make a shakeup trade. One of those few is Talen Horton-Tucker who, despite a frustrating and disappointing season, still holds some level of value as a 21-year-old forward with multiple years of NBA experience.
Unsurprisingly, a report from Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the LA Times noted that the Lakers have, indeed, been shopping Horton-Tucker.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are trying to find help, though their option appear limited. According to people with knowledge of the situation, the team is shopping 21-year-old Talen Horton-Tucker in trade discussions. Rival general managers believe the Lakers value Horton-Tucker, but they lack the mid-range contracts needed to put together a deal to upgrade their roster and understand no significant trade is getting made without him.
One of the biggest challenges the Lakers are going to face in the upcoming trade market is identifying available players that are attainable with a package centered around Horton-Tucker. Two of the most common names mentioned have been Jerami Grant and Myles Turner.
A recent report from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report indicated that teams trading for Grant would need assurances he would re-sign while Grant is also looking to remain a primary offensive option. In Los Angeles, he would be the third option at best for a healthy Lakers team, which dampens the fit between the two.
With Turner, his recent diagnosis of a stress reaction in his left foot will keep him out of action past the trade deadline and raises plenty of concerns as a big man with potential foot problems.
After those two names, the trade market looks a lot more barren for the Lakers. The team can continue to do due diligence and names like Gary Trent Jr. have come up but it would feel like an overpay by the Lakers to trade Horton-Tucker for him.
More names could come up over the next month and the Lakers may even already have identified those players. But it’s clear if the team is going to make a significant move in the coming weeks, Horton-Tucker will be at the center of it.