Talen Horton-Tucker Receives Qualifying Offer from Lakers; Will Be Restricted FA

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers' Talen Horton-Tucker (5) dribbles against the Boston Celtics during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Los Angeles. The Boston Celtics won 121-113. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are interested in keeping Talen Horton-Tucker around after his breakout season.

On Thursday, they extended the qualifying offer on his contract that Spotrac noted is worth $1.9 million, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, making him a restricted free agent.

It is not a surprise the Lakers gave the Iowa State product that offer considering how much he exceeded expectations in 2020-21. After all, the 2019 second-round pick played a mere six games during the previous season and came into last year as nothing more than a secondary contributor.

While Horton-Tucker was still a role player for the Lakers, he took on additional importance for stretches when LeBron James and Anthony Davis were sidelined by injuries.

The 20-year-old often anchored the second unit and even drilled a game-winning three-pointer in an overtime victory over the New York Knicks in May.

In all, he averaged 9.0 points, 2.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game behind 45.8 percent shooting from the field and 28.2 percent shooting from three-point range during the regular season as someone who could play multiple positions, carry the offense for small spurts and create his own shot.

Horton-Tucker isn't someone who is going to carry a team, but he is still young and took significant strides as his first full season in the NBA continued.

That Los Angeles offered him the qualifying offer, especially at such an affordable price, is no surprise. It also wouldn't be a surprise if it matches any long-term offers he receives from another team.ย