The Los Angeles Lakers appear to have limited trade assets to offer this summer, with Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn likely the only players they could exchange for new players in the offseason.
L.A. reportedly wanted to part ways with Russell Westbrook after the 2017 NBA MVP’s first season with the team. But just as it was the case before the February trade deadline, Westbrook’s $47 million salary seems difficult to offload — and recent rumors suggest the Purple and Gold are warming up to the idea of keeping the guard for another year.
Back at the beginning of the year, the Lakers also reportedly failed to find potential suitors for Horton-Tucker and Nunn even though they made them available for trade. However, Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney reports there’s still a market for the former despite the 21-year-old’s up-and-down 2021-22 season:
“I think, with Talen, obviously he did not get to where everyone wanted him to be that quickly,” one Western Conference coach told Heavy.com. “But he is 21 years old. He is playing for the Lakers and development is not the biggest thing there. Every season he has been in the league, there has been COVID and the bubble and something that has gotten in the way of him making steps. But I think most of us would take him on our team in a minute. He is big (6-foot-4) and long, he can handle the ball, he can initiate the offense, he will be a good defender even if he is not there yet. He has value.”
Nunn lost the entire 2021-22 campaign due to a bone bruise in his knee. However, an Eastern Conference executive said the guard’s contract still makes him a valuable asset:
The executive also said that Nunn has value, “because it’s a no-lose contract. Him and THT, it was the best package they could do, really.” Nunn has said he will pick up his player option (he can’t be traded until after that happens) worth $5.3 million for one year.
Who could the Lakers target with the pair? It might be tough to get anything done without giving up a future first-rounder, and the Lakers are short in that respect—they can’t trade a pick until 2027, and are reluctant to give up picks that far out. But it won’t be impossible. The exec threw out, hypothetically, Duncan Robinson of the Heat, Malik Beasley of the Timberwolves, and Christian Wood of the Rockets.
If the two executives’ opinions reflect the general view of the two guards’ value, the Lakers will perhaps have more trade options available in the summer than previously thought.
However, it seems like L.A. would have to send away at least one of their future picks to get a good deal in the summer — even if they are reportedly desperate to keep their first-rounders.
Horton-Tucker ‘frustrated’ by his inconsistency in 2021-22
Horton-Tucker started and ended the 2021-22 season on a high note but struggled mightily in between, particularly on the offensive end. The guard said his inconsistency “frustrated” him and that stabilizing his form is his priority for the summer.
“Just being consistent this year. That was the most important thing this year coming into the year that I wanted to do,” he said.
“Not happening was kind of frustrating, but I feel like that’s what we have the summer for, and that’s what we try to lock in and key in to.”
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