Lakers Rumors: Talen Horton-Tucker Was ‘Kind Of On Island’ During Time With Veteran-Heavy L.A.
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Talen Horton-Tucker has left the Los Angeles Lakers following a tumultuous three-year run.

After winning the 2020 NBA championship with the Lakers, Horton-Tucker enjoyed his breakout season in 2020-21. In just two years, the Iowa State alum went from a No. 46 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to signing a $31 million contract last summer.

But the 21-year-old guard lacked consistency and struggled to shoot the ball well in 2021-22, with the decline putting his future with L.A. to question. The Ringer’s Chris Vernon reports Horton-Tucker also struggled to make friends as one of the few young players on the veteran-heavy Lakers team:

“When I talked to some people connected to Horton-Tucker, he was kind of on an island in the sense of he’s like the only young guy,” Vernon said. “He didn’t have buddies to go run around with. This is an old team with a bunch of veteran guys. He didn’t have a bunch of friends.”

The Lakers traded Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson to acquire Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz earlier this week. The move came only over a year after L.A. reportedly refused to include the young guard in a deal for then-Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry.

Horton-Tucker will have a chance to revive his career in Salt Lake City with the Jazz hitting the reset button this summer. To make sure he will bounce back from a down year, Horton-Tucker showed up at pro-am events to “tune things up,” playing in the Drew League and Chicago’s Dreamville event.

Rick Fox encourages Lakers to trade for Pacers’ Buddy Hield and Myles Turner

The Beverley trade suggests a perhaps even bigger move is in the cards, likely involving Russell Westbrook.

That’s what former Laker Rick Fox would like to see L.A. do this offseason, tweeting the Purple and Gold should bring in Indiana Pacers duo Buddy Hield and Myles Turner — who have been linked with a move to the Lakers the whole summer.

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