The Los Angeles Lakers have some big upcoming decisions to make regarding a number of high-profile free agents. One of these decisions revolves around restricted free agent Talen Horton-Tucker, who broke out during the 2020-21 season as a slashing guard with unbelievable skill at the rim for someone who is just 20 years old.
In fact, he garnered so much attention for his combination of abilities, physical gifts, and age that he became a top target for teams at the trade deadline. The Toronto Raptors were even willing to deal Kyle Lowry to the Lakers in exchange for him, Dennis Schroder, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Lakers refused to part ways with the second-year guard.
Shortly after the Lakers unexpected first-round exit from the playoffs, Horton-Tucker is already back to work preparing himself for the 2021-22 season, via his Instagram:
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Given that it’s been just a couple of weeks since the Lakers were eliminated, it’s surprising to see him already hard at work preparing for next season, one that doesn’t begin until October. However, at just 20 years old, he still has plenty to improve upon and is also trying to cash in as much as possible during restricted free agency this summer.
There have already been some rumors surrounding Horton-Tucker, as the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be a team interested in the young guard. While nothing is confirmed, it’s hard to imagine why they wouldn’t at least consider someone who perfectly fits into their rebuilding timeline.
Since the Lakers made Horton-Tucker their sticking point in the Lowry deal, it’s difficult to see a scenario in which they let him walk. As a restricted free agent, the Lakers can match any offer that he agrees to. The two sides could agree without that process happening as well, meaning Horton-Tucker likely remains a Laker regardless.
Game slowing down for Horton-Tucker
Horton-Tucker spoke about the difference between Year 1 and Year 2 in his career and what he learned being a big part of the team’s rotation in 2020-21. “I feel like when it starts slowing down, you are seeing everything a step faster,” Horton-Tucker said. “You start realizing how guys are playing you a certain way.”
“I feel like in my case, they were playing me this year to go to the basket a lot more. I started to see that early on,” said Horton-Tucker. “When it starts slowing down, I feel like everything opens up and unlocks another level to your game.”