Talen Horton-Tucker

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Wall, Monk, THT, Nunn, Vogel, James

Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype explore potential offseason moves for the Lakers in their latest podcast. Scotto asked three different league executives for their opinions regarding Russell Westbrook‘s trade value, with slightly different results.

One said he had no interest in acquiring Westbrook whatsoever. The second executive called Westbrook’s contract “terrible” and said it’s viewed very negatively around the league, and would only be dealt for multiple other salary dumps.

The third executive was a little more circumspect in his assessment, noting that Westbrook’s $47MM player option for 2022/23 is likely to be perceived as a negative asset, but certain teams might take it on in order to get rid of long-term contracts.

Gozlan doesn’t think the Lakers’ front office will consider using the waive-and-stretch provision on Westbrook, considering the team will finally be clear of Luol Deng‘s dead money cap hit ($5MM) this summer. Teams might be interested trading for Westbrook if he indicates he’d accept a buyout agreement for a slightly discounted rate — perhaps $5-10MM less — which Gozlan believes is the high-end of the range he might earn as a free agent.

Both Gozlan and Scotto think that the framework for a potential Westbrook/John Wall swap will be revisited this summer, with one GM telling Scotto that he thinks the Rockets guard can still be a high-level backup in the NBA, or even a fringe starter.

Here are some more Lakers rumors:

  • Scotto queried four executives to gauge the value of unrestricted free agent Malik Monk, and they projected his next deal to be in the range of the taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.4MM) to the non-taxpayer mid-level ($10MM). As of now, the most the Lakers can offer Monk is the taxpayer mid-level.
  • Expect Los Angeles to again dangle Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.26MM), Kendrick Nunn ($5.25MM) and draft compensation to improve the roster, says Scotto.
  • League executives agree that former coach Frank Vogel was the scapegoat for the team’s disastrous season, with one noting that the well-respected Vogel should “be able to pick his spot as a high-level assistant if that’s something he wants to do,” according to Scotto.
  • LeBron James‘ future in L.A. is the biggest story surrounding the franchise, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. James is eligible for a two-year, $97MM extension in August, which could secure his place on the roster through 2025. However, sources at Klutch Sports say that the agency and James have yet to discuss the star’s future, per Pincus.

Lakers Notes: Davis, James, Westbrook, Offseason Approach

Anthony Davis isn’t sure if the Lakers‘ front office will try to trade him after the season, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports. Davis is signed through the 2024/25 season, though there’s an early termination option prior to the final year.

“Obviously I love it in L.A. If that’s something that they’re considering, then we’ll have a conversation about it,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re talking about, what’s the plan.”

Davis missed a chunk of time this season due to a foot injury but he bristles at the notion that he’s injury prone.

“To be honest, my training methods were top tier,” he said. “I can’t control stepping on someone’s foot and I can’t control someone falling into my leg. It’s not like I’m out of shape and I did some crazy (stuff) or it was anything I could control.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Davis (right foot soreness), LeBron James (left ankle soreness), and Russell Westbrook (right shoulder soreness) sat out Thursday’s game against the Warriors, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. It’s unclear if the trio will be shut down for the remainder of the season but the Lakers have little to play for after getting eliminated from postseason contention.
  • The Lakers’ best future option is for the front office to start running the club like a small market team, Moke Hamilton of the Basketball News opines. They need to find a way to get back into the draft, most likely by trading Talen Horton-Tucker, and uncover diamonds in the rough through scouting and player development.
  • The Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner breaks down all the roster decisions that GM Rob Pelinka and senior advisor Kurt Rambis need to make this offseason.
  • The same topics are explored by the Bleacher Report’s’ Eric Pincus, who notes that significant changes are unlikely to occur within the front office.
  • The franchise has come up short of lofty expectations created by the additions of James four years ago and Davis three years ago, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes. While the Lakers won a championship in the Orlando bubble in 2020, competing for multiple championships was expected. They missed the playoffs in James’ first and fourth seasons in L.A. and lost in the first round last season.
  • In case you missed it, Trevor Ariza was waived on Thursday.

Lakers Rumors: Coaching Change, Davis, Westbrook, THT, Nunn, Monk

An offseason coaching change seems inevitable for the Lakers, who could see their hopes for the play-in tournament end as early as tonight, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Sources tell Fischer that L.A. is expected to fire Frank Vogel after the end of the season. Vogel has reportedly been on the hot seat for some time, and only received a one-year contract extension last summer.

There will be a long list of potential replacements, but Fischer identifies Jazz coach Quin Snyder and Sixers coach Doc Rivers as the most intriguing names to watch. Marc Stein of Substack recently linked Snyder to the Lakers’ job, and possibly to the Spurs as well. Snyder responded by calling it “disrespectful” to the teams involved to discuss rumors while those coaching positions are filled.

Snyder was a Lakers assistant 10 years ago, and Utah may decide to make a coaching change of its own after a late-season slide, but Fischer cites skepticism around the league that he’ll wind up in Los Angeles. The feeling is that Snyder would prefer to wait for the San Antonio job, even if Gregg Popovich returns next season.

Rivers could become available if Philadelphia has an early playoff exit, and he would be considered by the Jazz as well, Fischer adds. Rivers had a long history in Boston with Utah CEO Danny Ainge.

Fischer has more news regarding the Lakers:

  • Some rival teams have wondered if Anthony Davis might be available in a trade this summer, but multiple sources told Fischer that won’t be an option the Lakers seriously consider. Davis has been severely limited by injuries the past two years, playing 39 games so far this season and 36 in 2020/21, but L.A.’s front office still believes it has the makings of a championship contender when Davis and LeBron James are healthy.
  • The Lakers will try again to trade Russell Westbrook, but they still may not have any options other than a deal with the Rockets for John Wall that would likely also cost them a future first-round pick. Talen Horton-Tucker, who Fischer said was nearly sent to the Raptors at the deadline in a three-way deal that would have included the Knicks, will also be on the market, along with Kendrick Nunn, who is expected to pick up his $5.25MM player option.
  • Malik Monk was the Lakers’ best offseason signing, ranking third on the team in points scored and minutes played on a minimum-salary contract, but he may be somewhere else next season. L.A. only holds Non-Bird rights on Monk and will be limited to a contract that starts at the taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected to be $6.4MM. Rival executives expect him to get offers with a starting salary as high as $10MM, says Fischer.

Injury Notes: Lakers, Jazz, Bulls, Heat

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Anthony Davis is progressing each day as he inches closer to a return to action, as Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet tweets.

Anthony has had a good week … He’s had a productive week,” Vogel said.

Davis continues to do spot shooting, which began on Monday. Davis originally suffered a right foot strain on February 16, so he’s a little more than four weeks into his four-to-six week recovery timetable.

Lakers reserves Carmelo Anthony and Wayne Ellington were both unable to play on Friday at Toronto due to non-COVID illnesses, Trudell relays (via Twitter).

Talen Horton-Tucker missed the game as well, per Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link). Horton-Tucker has been battling a Grade 2 ankle sprain.

Here are more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Jazz are dealing with a plethora of maladies at the moment. Six players were listed as out for Friday’s game against the Clippers, the team announced (Twitter link): Donovan Mitchell (right calf contusion), Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf strain), Danuel House (left knee bone bruise), Hassan Whiteside (non-COVID illness), Trent Forrest (right wrist sprain), and Udoka Azubuike (right ankle sprain).
  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan says Lonzo Ball has been experiencing discomfort in his rehab, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “He has not responded,” Donovan said. “There’s no setbacks. It’s still the same thing. He has not been able to do anything full speed. And anytime we get him close to that, there’s discomfort. So I think they’re going to probably at least look at, you know, ‘Do you back off and let him rest for a little bit and see if that helps?’” Johnson notes that Friday marked seven weeks since Ball underwent surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee, and given his lack of progress, it seems highly unlikely he’ll return in the six-to-eight week recovery timetable Chicago originally provided. Donovan said there’s been no talk of Ball missing the remainder of the season, but the team is still determining the next steps in his recovery process.
  • On a more positive note, Donovan said Patrick Williams has been a full participant in G League practices with the Windy City Bulls, with no setbacks. He also said there was a “very real” possibility that Williams could return to action versus Toronto on Monday or Milwaukee on Tuesday, Johnson tweets. Williams has been targeting a return next week; he’s been out since October due to wrist surgery.
  • Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle) and Victor Oladipo (back spasms) both missed the Heat‘s 120-108 win over the Thunder on Friday, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. It’s the third time Butler has sprained his right ankle this season, Chiang notes, which is definitely a concerning trend. However, the injury isn’t considered serious. On the bright side, Caleb Martin (hyperextended left knee) and P.J. Tucker (left knee irritation) were both able to play after being listed as questionable. Martin had missed the past three games for the 47-24 Heat, who hold the No. 1 seed in the East.

Knicks Reportedly Missed Out On Chances To Trade Alec Burks

The Knicks had several opportunities to trade Alec Burks ahead of last month’s deadline, but the deals fell apart because New York kept pressing for additional draft assets, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Among the proposals was a three-way trade involving the Lakers and Raptors that would have sent Burks and Cam Reddish to L.A., Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel to Toronto, and Goran Dragic and the Raptors’ 2022 first-round pick to New York, sources tell Fischer.

Those talks reportedly collapsed because the Knicks insisted on getting more draft picks, which doesn’t surprise one unidentified Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Fischer.

“They are always trying to squeeze out an extra second-round pick here and an extra second-round pick there,” the executive said.

Since the failed trade, Reddish has been lost for the season with a separated shoulder, while Dragic – traded instead to San Antonio – reached a buyout with the Spurs and signed with the cross-town Nets. The Knicks are still without a reliable point guard and are expected to pursue one in free agency this summer, with the Mavericks’ Jalen Brunson likely to be a prime target.

Burks has been filling in at point guard after injuries to Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose, but New York approached the deadline searching for an alternative. Burks, who will turn 31 this summer, is under contract for a little more than $10MM next season and the Knicks hold a team option on his $10.49MM salary for 2023/24.

California Notes: Lakers, Holmes, Draymond, Clippers

The struggling 29-39 Lakers, winners of just two of their last ten games, are looking to the future, encouraged by the development of some of their youngsters, writes Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register.

Though the Los Angeles front office mostly opted to build its new-look roster around older veterans this summer, a handful of younger role players have emerged around 37-year-old All-Star forward LeBron James this season.

24-year-old guard Malik Monk and 23-year-old rookie wing Austin Reaves, alongside 25-year-old forward Stanley Johnson, have emerged as three of the Lakers’ more reliable players who may have yet to hit their ceilings. 21-year-old swingman Talen Horton-Tucker remains an intriguing option as well, though he has underperformed relative to his new three-year, $32MM contract this season.

“They’ve continued to improve and get better and more comfortable in our system, in our environment,” head coach Frank Vogel said of the Lakers’ youth movement. “Malik, Austin and Talen. That trio is another reason amongst others why I believe we have a chance.”

There’s more out of California:

  • The NBA has fined Kings big man Richaun Holmes to the tune of $25K after he threw a basketball into the crowd during a 134-125 loss to the Jazz on March 12, per a league press release (Twitter link). Holmes was ejected from the game at the time of the incident. It shouldn’t make too big of a dent in his wallet — the 28-year-old is in the first season of a lucrative new four-year, $46.5MM contract he signed with Sacramento during the 2021 offseason.
  • Despite being inactive for the last 30 Warriors contests this season due to a nagging back injury, All-Star power forward Draymond Green remains convinced he can still win his second Defensive Player of the Year Award this season, per Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area“Yeah, I’ve seen guys win with not many more games than I’m gonna play,” Green said. “I don’t know what league everybody else has been watching, but I have not seen anyone solidify themselves as Defensive Player of the Year.” Johnson notes that, should Green be available for all 13 remaining Warriors games during the 2021/22 regular season, he will only have suited up for 48 total this year.
  • With a 36-35 record, the eighth-seeded Clippers are six games behind the sixth-seeded Nuggets in the Western Conference. L.A. has just 11 games left on its regular season slate. The team has little to no chance of avoiding the play-in tournament at this point of the year, barring a collapse from both the Nuggets and the 40-30 seventh seed, the Timberwolves. The team is also a whopping 5.5 games ahead of the ninth-seeded Lakers. Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register examines how the Clippers intend to operate down the home stretch of the season given the reality of their seeding. “We’ll get a chance to experiment with our small lineup, which we gotta get better at once we get everyone healthy and get everyone back and then kinda see how that plays out, head coach Tyronn Lue said. Lue also intends to work through after-timeout plays, with an emphasis on helping shooting guard Luke Kennard improve his timing off screens.

Pacific Notes: Kennard, Jackson, DeRozan, Horton-Tucker, DiVincenzo

The chemistry between Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson formed long before they teamed up on the Clippers, writes Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. They were teammates in Detroit for two and a half seasons after Kennard entered the league in 2017/18.

Their partnership ended briefly when the Pistons waived Jackson in February of 2020, but he signed with L.A. a few days later and Kennard was traded to the Clippers in the fall. They’ll make their only visit of the season to Detroit on Sunday afternoon.

“It’s been a lot of fun playing with him – I mean, I played with him in Detroit, so I know what Reggie is all about,” Kennard said. “He was my vet in Detroit, and we kind of built a connection right away. He helped me a lot throughout my first couple of years there. And just to be back with him now and to play even more of a role with him now than I did in Detroit, it’s fun.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Appearing as a guest on Serge Ibaka‘s “How Hungry Are You?” series on YouTube, DeMar DeRozan admits that he had some interest in joining the Clippers during free agency (hat tip to Adam Glanzman of All Clippers). On the show, which was taped during the offseason, DeRozan said he would have accepted a small pay cut if Kyle Lowry had also come to L.A., but after he met with the Bulls, he didn’t believe the Clippers could match their offer. “Nothing but respect to (president of basketball operations) Lawrence Frank and the whole Clippers organization,” DeRozan said. “Great people. It definitely was an opportunity that presented itself. I think for me, the Chicago thing just took off.”
  • After Friday’s game, Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker revealed that he’s playing with a Grade 2 ankle sprain, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Horton-Tucker was listed as questionable for the game, but wound up playing 30 minutes and scoring 15 points. “I’m just trying to play through it,” he said. “It’s the end of the season so we got to get some wins. So, any way I can help I feel like I need to be out there. So, I’m trying to play through it. It still hurts, but I’m just trying to push.”
  • Donte DiVincenzo brought a commitment to defense to the Kings when they acquired him in a four-team trade last month, per Alex Kramers of NBA.com. The fourth-year guard specializes in jumping into passing lanes and forcing turnovers. “At the end of the day, it is just locking up and locking in on the defensive end, [recognizing] how to disrupt [opponents] offensively and how to make a difference for a team,” DiVincenzo said.

Leftover Deadline Rumors: Raptors, Rockets, Lakers, Nuggets, Knicks

The Raptors considered a series of potential trade scenarios before they agreed to send Goran Dragic and a draft pick to San Antonio for Thaddeus Young, writes Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.

According to Grange, Toronto had hoped the Hawks would make Bogdan Bogdanovic available, viewing the veteran wing as someone who could help the team in both the short- and long-term. However, Atlanta didn’t budge on Bogdanovic, forcing the Raptors to look elsewhere.

The Raptors inquired on Pistons forward Jerami Grant and Kings forward Harrison Barnes, sources tell Grange, but the price tags for those players were high. As previously reported, there were also discussions about a three-team deal that would’ve sent Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel to Toronto, but Grange suggests those talks never gained serious traction.

Here are a few more leftover rumors on trades that didn’t get made on deadline day:

  • The Rockets never made real progress on a John Wall trade with the Lakers, who were unwilling to attach a first-round pick to Russell Westbrook, but a few days before the deadline, Houston got much closer to moving Wall to another team, a source tells Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. That proposed deal ultimately fell through, per Feigen, who doesn’t specify which team the Rockets were talking to.
  • During a TV appearance, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst (video link) said one concept that “could have been discussed” by the Rockets and Lakers before the deadline, “depending on who you believe,” was a swap of Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and draft capital for Wall and Christian Wood. It doesn’t sound like those talks, if they even occurred, advanced at all.
  • After agreeing to acquire center Jalen Smith from Phoenix, the Pacers explored flipping him to a new team, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Fischer says the Nuggets were among the clubs in the mix for Smith, but Indiana didn’t find a deal it liked and ended up hanging onto the third-year big man.
  • The Knicks didn’t make a deal on deadline day, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Sources tell Steve Popper of Newsday that the club was willing to move just about anyone on its roster, but had trouble finding trade partners for many of its top trade candidates, including Kemba Walker and Noel. According to Popper, his sources suggested there was a “universal lack of interest in the Knicks’ talent and contracts.”

Lakers, Knicks, Raptors Have Discussed Possible Three-Team Trade

7:08am: In a full story on the talks involving the Lakers, Knicks, and Raptors, Scotto says Toronto has discussed sending a first-round pick to New York, while Los Angeles has talked about sending a second-round pick. The Knicks have sought additional draft compensation, according to Scotto.

The new details from Scotto are a little surprising. Based on the underwhelming seasons Noel and Horton-Tucker have had, and the guaranteed money left on their contracts beyond 2021/22, including a first-round pick seems like a steep price for the Raptors. I’d also be pretty shocked if the Lakers could make this move without giving up more draft assets beyond a single second-rounder.

6:40am: The Lakers, Knicks, and Raptors have engaged in talks about a possible three-team trade, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

According to Scotto, the framework the teams have discussed would see the Lakers get Cam Reddish and Alec Burks, the Knicks acquire Goran Dragic and draft capital, and the Raptors receive Talen Horton-Tucker and Nerlens Noel. It’s also possible Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn could find his way into the hypothetical deal, Scotto adds.

It’s an intriguing concept. The struggling Lakers would get a couple players capable of immediately stepping into the rotation and playing alongside their stars; the slumping Knicks would move off a series of players on multiyear deals in exchange for an expiring contract and more draft assets; and the Raptors would turn Dragic’s expiring contract into a veteran center in Noel and a young prospect in Horton-Tucker, who hasn’t played well this season but is still just 21 years old and has some upside.

While Scotto doesn’t specify one way or the other, the draft picks going to New York in the proposed deal would presumably come from the Lakers, based on the players changing hands. Based on a combination of their contracts and recent production, Reddish and Burks have the most trade value of any of the players included in this trade scenario. Los Angeles has the ability to offer either a 2027 or 2028 first-round pick, as well as second-rounders.

It’s worth noting that the NBA’s trade rules wouldn’t prevent the Knicks from being able to flip Reddish in a deal like this one even after acquiring him less than a month ago, since the structure of this trade wouldn’t require him to be aggregated with any other players for salary-matching purposes — New York could use Noel and Burks to match Dragic’s incoming salary.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) has also heard that the Lakers and Raptors have talked about Horton-Tucker and says Toronto has been “quite active” in trade discussions. However, Fischer notes that the Raptors have explored many Dragic-related scenarios and downplays the idea that any talks with Los Angeles have gotten too serious yet.

Western Rumors: Haliburton, Blazers, Grant, Covington, Lakers, Wolves

The trade agreement between the Kings and the Pacers that will send Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana shocked people around the NBA, including Haliburton himself, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said during an appearance on NBA Today (video link).

“The league is stunned at this trade and the fact that (Haliburton) was even available,” Wojnarowski said. “I think there were a lot of teams who thought, ‘If we knew we could’ve gotten Tyrese Haliburton, we would’ve been really knocking at the door in Sacramento.’ … This was a player who everyone had thought, including Tyrese Haliburton, that he’d be the cornerstone for their future.”

Here are a few more trade-related notes and rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Having already agreed to two major trades this week, the Trail Blazers may not be done yet. They continue to talk to the Pistons about a possible Jerami Grant deal, reports Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).
  • It remains possible that newly-acquired Clippers forward Robert Covington will be on the move again prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, sources tell ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Covington can’t be aggregated with another player for salary-matching purposes in a second trade, but could still technically be flipped on his own this week.
  • Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times says sources have described Magic wing Terrence Ross as a realistic trade target for the Lakers, but Woike isn’t sure that L.A. would have the appetite to attach a future first-round pick to Talen Horton-Tucker to acquire Ross, who is having the worst three-point shooting season of his career.
  • Adding size in the frontcourt is a priority for the Timberwolves as the trade deadline approaches, per Dane Moore of Blue Wire Pods (Twitter link). Minnesota ranks dead-last in defensive rebounding rate this season, and Moore suggests the club would like to add a backup center who could help in that area.