Report: Lakers Were 'Resistant' to Horton-Tucker for Beverley Trade at Start of Talks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 28, 2022

Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers changed their tune on Talen Horton-Tucker when they traded him to the Utah Jazz in a deal for Patrick Beverley.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported Sunday the Lakers "were clearly resistant to the idea" in July. They decided to move Horton-Tucker in part because Kyrie Irving appears all but certain to remain with the Brooklyn Nets. In addition, LeBron James committing to the team for at least the 2023-24 season gave L.A. an incentive to execute a win-now move.

A lot of Lakers fans will probably remember Horton-Tucker mostly for being the player Los Angeles refused to include in a trade for Kyle Lowry.

The Athletic's Jovan Buha and Bill Oram reported in March 2021 the Lakers were prepared to send Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Toronto Raptors but remained steadfast regarding Horton-Tucker. Negotiations fell through, and Lowry wound up with the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade.

At the time, one could justify the Lakers' position by arguing Horton-Tucker had shown some promise and was a potentially emergent talent on a roster devoid of much youth. That Beverley was the asset L.A. acquired for the 21-year-old showed how much the situation failed to pan out.

Horton-Tucker became an even worse shooter in 2021-22, hitting just 26.9 percent of his three-pointers. His inability to stretch the floor made him a terrible fit in an off-ball role, and he couldn't play to his strengths as a facilitator and slasher because he was often sharing the floor with Russell Westbrook and/or LeBron James.

Because of his age, it's too early to give up on Horton-Tucker. Assuming the Jazz eventually trade Donovan Mitchell and go into a full rebuild, they could be a great situation for him to rebound.

Sam Quinn @SamQuinnCBS

I think Talen Horton-Tucker has a chance to real impress people in Utah.<br><br>He desperately needed the ball in his hands. If the Jazz trade Mitchell he'll get all of the touches he needs. Incredible finisher. Very good athlete. I think he can become a real asset for the Jazz.

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie

Having said that, I do think Horton-Tucker is an interesting flyer for the Jazz. He'll get to explore his game and try to expand his talents in what will likely be a low-leverage rebuilding situation if they move Mitchell. Think that'll help him. I get this deal on both sides.

The Lakers could look foolish if Horton-Tucker thrives in Utah, but it's doubtful any improvement he makes would've happened in L.A. given the organization's priorities.

The optics of this trade aren't great given where THT's value was last summer and around the 2021 trade deadline. But swapping him for an experienced veteran was clearly the best tactic for strengthening the supporting cast around James and Anthony Davis.


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