Talen Horton-Tucker finds himself in an awfully precarious situation as the Los Angeles Lakers trudge along to the NBA trade deadline. He’s the team’s only movable contract, and basically any time the Lakers are tied to a potential trade target, he knows he’s likely the centerpiece of their offer.
So, given the impact trade rumors had on every other member of a young Lakers core that is now strewn all over the league, and having watched Horton-Tucker seriously struggle over the last couple weeks, it’s fair to wonder how he’s handling this unfortunate part of being an NBA player.
To discuss this, the Rajon Rondo trade, LeBron James as a fourth-year Laker and a ton more, I welcomed Justin Rowan of “The Chasedown Podcast” on this week’s episode of “The Anthony Irwin Show.”
Horton-Tucker is certainly still a very talented young player who figures to have a bright future ahead of him. The question has always been whether that bright future would be reached on a timeline that aligns with where the Lakers are organizationally. It wouldn’t at all surprise me to see him flourish on a team that allows him to progress at his own speed. It just seems altogether unlikely he lives up to the Lakers’ expectations of him this year.
This doesn’t have to be psychoanalysis, either. Horton-Tucker simply hasn’t looked the same since returning from the health and safety protocols, too, so the hope is that he can get his legs underneath him to return to the pretty good level he was playing at before he got sick. But whether it’s a matter of getting his conditioning back, learning to deal with the constant trade rumors, figuring out an awkward fit or some combination of all three, we’re all hoping Horton-Tucker can figure it all out.
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And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.