With the Los Angeles Lakers facing an earlier than anticipated offseason, there is now plenty of time for players to rest and get back to work for next year. However, there’s also much more time for rumors surrounding the impending free agency of several Lakers role players, including Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker became a hugely intriguing young piece during the opening weeks of the 2020-21 season. His ability to slash to the lane and score in the paint at just 6’4″ is a skill that very few possess. His physical tools also made him a highly sought-after piece at the trade deadline.
Now, he is going to be a restricted free agent, which keeps him tied to L.A. while allowing him the opportunity to look elsewhere. He said during his exit interview, however, that he hasn’t yet given it much thought.
“I haven’t really thought about it as much because it was during the season, so I wasn’t really trying to give it too much train of thought. I appreciate the opportunity that I’ve had here. I just want to let my representation will handle all that. I feel like they’ll steer me in the right direction whatever it is.”
The Lakers young guard also said that he had a positive meeting with the team and that he’s ready to get to work during the summer.
“I feel like it was a positive meeting. We talked about everything that went on this year. Kind of getting ready for next year. Heading into the next year of my career. Just ready for the summer and just get ready to get to work.”
The Lakers have not had a restricted free agent in quite some time, but the process is very simple. Horton-Tucker is allowed to shop around and receive offers from teams around the league — with some financial restrictions — but the Lakers are afforded the opportunity to match any offer that Horton-Tucker may agree to with another team.
The Lakers can attempt to circumvent this by agreeing to a contract with Horton-Tucker before he accepts another offer. This way, L.A. can determine his value and not be at the mercy of another team that may decide to overpay him.
This is just one of many free agency decisions that the Lakers are going to have to deal with during the offseason. However, Horton-Tucker is among the likeliest to still be on the roster next season given the nature of his free agency.
Horton-Tucker discusses offseason focuses
Even though Horton-Tucker is a promising, young player that the Lakers are hoping will be a big part of their future, there is no doubting that there are aspects of his game that he needs to work on. He discussed how he plans to attack his summer workouts.
“Defensively, I always want to continue to try to get a tenacious approach to it. Just being able to transform my body the way I’ve done. Get quicker and faster to be able to defend different guys.
“Offensively, I want to get my shot to the point where it’s almost automatic, so I feel like that comes with the work that I continue to put in every day. Get everything consistent. I feel like I’ll be pretty good. I’m ready to take the next step in my career.”
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