Talen Horton-Tucker

Pacific Notes: Green, Ayton, THT, Clippers

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wants All-Defensive First Team power forward Draymond Green to shoot more, writes Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Simmons reports that, ahead of Golden State’s 2021 preseason, Kerr told Green that he hopes the former three-time All-Star can average two or three three-point looks a night. “If you’re open, let it fly,” Kerr said. Green connected on just 27.0% of his 2.0 attempts per night during the 2020/21 season. He has not shot better than 31% from deep since the 2015/16 season.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Suns center Deandre Ayton has expressed his frustration that he has yet to secure a rookie contract extension with Phoenix, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “I love Phoenix, but I’m really disappointed that we haven’t gotten a deal done yet,” Ayton said. “I mean we were two wins (away) from a championship (last season) and I just really want to be respected, to be honest. To be respected like my peers are being respected.” Several players among Ayton’s 2018 draft class, including Hawks All-Star point guard Trae Young, Mavericks All-Star point guard Luka Doncic, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Nuggets power forward Michael Porter Jr., have been signed to maximum contract extensions this summer. The deadline for Ayton to complete an extension is October 18. Although Ayton initially seemed hopeful to get a deal done ahead of the season, reports last week suggested that talks were at an impasse — a separate report indicated that negotiations were still continuing.
  • Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker had a surgery to address a right thumb tear, and is set to miss at least the next four weeks of action, per Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). It was reported that Horton-Tucker injured the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb earlier this week. This is a significant blow for the Lakers’ perimeter depth. The club has high hopes for Horton-Tucker this season, having inked him to a three-year, $32MM contract during the summer.
  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris and big man Serge Ibaka are set to rejoin the club for their first full-contact practices following injuries suffered during L.A.’s 2021 playoff run, per Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “This will be his first opportunity to change ends of the floor, play with some contact, trying to get acclimated to what we are trying to do,” head coach Tyronn Lue said of Morris. “Serge is a great man, he’s happy all the time, I think he’s almost back,” starting center Ivica Zubac said of reserve Ibaka.

Talen Horton-Tucker Undergoing Thumb Surgery

Talen Horton-Tucker has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his right thumb, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Sources tell Charania that the Lakers guard will undergo surgery to repair the ligament.

Horton-Tucker, who will turn 21 next month, emerged as a regular rotation player for the Lakers in 2020/21, averaging 9.0 PPG, 2.8 APG, and 2.6 RPG on .458/.282/.775 shooting in 65 games (20.1 MPG). He signed a three-year contract worth nearly $31MM during the 2021 offseason, with the team making a big bet on his continued development.

While a recovery timeline for Horton-Tucker hasn’t been provided yet, it seems safe to assume he’ll be sidelined to open the regular season. Recovery from a thumb surgery is typically measured in weeks or months, not days.

It’s another blow to a Lakers team that will be missing Trevor Ariza (ankle) for several weeks to start the season. Head coach Frank Vogel said on Sunday that Malik Monk will also be out for “probably about a week” due to a strained groin, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link), so the Lakers’ backcourt and wing depth will be tested early. Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn could see increased roles.

Lakers Notes: Centers, Monk, Two-Ways, Brown, Queen

With Anthony Davis expected to see more action at the center spot this season, it remains to be seen how much playing time former All-NBA big men Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan will get at the five for the Lakers. However, as Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times writes, Jordan isn’t overly concerned about how many minutes he’ll play.

“That’s the blessing of it, having a lot of different lineups that you can use. And I think each game is gonna have a say on what we do,” Jordan said on Saturday. “We can be rolling with a huge lineup. And, you know, we’ll win with that. And some games may need us to go small. And I think that at this point of my career, of all of our careers, you know, at the end of the day, ultimately, we just want to be able to win and be able to achieve something as a collective.”

Howard, who played a career-low 17.3 minutes per contest last season in Philadelphia, shares Jordan’s philosophy.

“Leave the ego at the door, leave it at home when you wake up,” Howard said of his role. “There’s no need to have it. We all represent this emblem that’s behind me, this Laker logo. We understand that, and it’s whatever the team needs to win.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Malik Monk‘s impressive preseason debut on Sunday further complicates an already-crowded battle for playing time at shooting guard, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who observes that the Lakers will have to find time at the two for Monk, Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton-Tucker, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn. Nunn has generally played point guard, but may not see much action there if Russell Westbrook plays big minutes and Rajon Rondo has a regular role, Buha notes.
  • Cameron Oliver, Mac McClung, Chaundee Brown, and Trevelin Queen are the camp invitees currently in the mix for the Lakers’ second two-way contract slot, but the team could end up going outside of the organization to fill that spot, as Buta writes in the same story. “We’re gonna see how the preseason plays out,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “See who all is available, both the guys that are here, or who are around the league, guys that might get cut, and we’ll make a decision closer to opening night.”
  • If the Lakers do convert one of their current camp invitees to a two-way contract, Brown and Queen may be the frontrunners, says Buha. Both of those players are wings, which might be the Lakers’ biggest need.

Contract Details: Clippers, THT, Ball, Nwaba, Bembry, Raptors

After reporting over the weekend that the Clippers used about $3.9MM of their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Justise Winslow, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Instagram video) confirmed today that the team used the leftover portion of that MLE to sign second-round picks Jason Preston and Brandon Boston Jr. to three-year deals, with Preston getting a little more than the rookie minimum.

Keith Smith of Spotrac shares those salary figures down to the dollar, tweeting that Winslow’s first-year salary is $3,902,439 while Preston’s is $1,062,303. Combined with Boston’s rookie minimum of $925,258, those three salaries add up to exactly $5.89MM, the amount of the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Here are a few more details on new contracts from around the NBA:

  • While Talen Horton-Tucker‘s three-year deal with the Lakers was initially said to be worth $32MM, the year-by-year breakdown provided by Smith works out to a total of $30.78MM (Twitter link).
  • Lonzo Ball‘s four-year deal with the Bulls also came in slightly lower than expected, according to Smith, who says it has a base value of $80MM, with $1MM in annual unlikely incentives (Twitter link).
  • David Nwaba‘s three-year, $15MM contract with the Rockets has two fully guaranteed seasons followed by a third-year team option, according to Marks (Instagram video).
  • DeAndre’ Bembry‘s minimum-salary deal with the Nets has a partial guarantee of $750K for now, tweets Smith. That number will increase to $1.25MM on December 15 before becoming fully guaranteed in January.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic (Twitter links) shares some Raptors contract details, reporting that Gary Trent Jr.‘s deal has a base value of $51.84MM, with $250K in annual unlikely incentives. Murphy adds that Ishmail Wainright got a $250K guarantee in 2021/22 – plus a $125K guarantee in ’22/23 – on his minimum-salary contract, while Yuta Watanabe‘s minimum-salary deal is now partially guaranteed for $375K. Watanabe would get his full guarantee if he makes the regular season roster.

Lakers Re-Sign Talen Horton-Tucker To Three-Year Deal

AUGUST 6: The Lakers have officially re-signed Horton-Tucker, the team confirmed today in a press release.

AUGUST 3: Restricted free agent guard Talen Horton-Tucker has agreed to a three-year, $32MM deal to return to the Lakers, agents Rich Paul and Lucas Newton tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The deal includes a third-year player option, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Horton-Tucker, a second-round pick in the 2019 draft, averaged 9.0 PPG, 2.8 APG, and 2.6 RPG on .458/.282/.775 shooting in 65 games (20.1 MPG) for the Lakers in 2020/21.

Those numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, but Horton-Tucker is being paid more for his potential than his past performance. He won’t turn 21 until November, making him one of the youngest free agents on the market this summer. The Lakers expect him to take a big step forward in 2021/22, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The Lakers had Early Bird rights on Horton-Tucker and will take full advantage of those rights to re-sign him. The Early Bird exception allowed the team to go up to about $10.4MM for the first year in the 20-year-old’s new contract, and it appears his salary will be something close to that.

With a player option in the third year of his new deal, Horton-Tucker will have the opportunity to hit the open market again at age 22 as an unrestricted free agent. If he takes a major step forward in the next two years, he’ll be in line for a substantial payday at that point.

Eastern Rumors: Ball, Rose, Tucker, Portis, Allen, Williams, Fournier, Schroder, Horton-Tucker

The Bulls are looking to make to major additions to shore up their point guard position, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The Bulls have been linked for months to Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and there’s thought to be mutual interest between the two sides on a four-year deal worth more than $80MM. If the Pelicans extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to Ball, he’ll be a restricted free agent — the Bulls would have to give him an offer sheet and hope New Orleans doesn’t match it, or work out a sign-and-trade with the Pels.

The Bulls may have some competition from the Celtics, who have been recently mentioned as a potential Ball suitor after dealing away Kemba Walker. There’s increasing speculation the Celtics will not look to re-sign unrestricted free agent Evan Fournier, says Fischer. That possibility increased significantly after the Celtics agreed to acquire Josh Richardson from the Mavericks.

Chicago is also considering another Derrick Rose reunion and there’s mutual interest. It’s uncertain if the Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau can convince Rose, an unrestricted free agent, to re-sign with them if the Bulls make a hard push. However, Chicago will likely need to shed salary in order to bring in both Ball and Rose and the Knicks have plenty of cap room to outbid the Bulls for his services. While that’s a best case scenario in the Bulls’ eyes, they’re intent on adding two point guards this summer, especially with Coby White out indefinitely after undergoing left shoulder surgery, per Fischer.

Fischer offers up a number of other interesting items:

  • The Bucks are interested in bringing back two of their prominent free agents. They’d like to re-sign defensive specialist P.J. Tucker on a contract in the neighborhood of two years and $20MM. They are also hoping to re-sign forward Bobby Portis and the feeling is mutual. Since the Bucks only have Non-Bird rights on Portis, they’d have to use their mid-level exception to give him a starting salary higher than about $4.3MM.
  • The Cavaliers view the Raptors as their main threat to re-signing restricted free agent Jarrett Allen. Toronto’s interest in Allen surfaced last weekend. However, Cleveland is likely to match any offer sheet for Allen. The Raptors are also eying Kings free agent Richaun Holmes.
  • League sources think Lou Williams, one of the league’s top reserves, could re-sign with the Hawks on a veteran’s minimum deal, sys Fischer.
  • The Knicks, who need to add scoring punch, have expressed interest in Fournier. They’ve also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker. Schroder will be looking for a new home after the Lakers agreed to acquire Russell Westbrook. Previous reports have indicated the Knicks’ potential pursuit of Fournier and Schroder. Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent after the Lakers extended a qualifying offer, though the team has the option of pulling it off the table.
  • According to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, there’s support within the Knicks organization to pursue Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie and he’s interested in remaining in New York. Devonte’ GrahamKendrick Nunn, and Kyle Lowry are some other potential targets at point guard. At the wing, the Knicks have some interest in the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan and they’ve had discussions with the Magic this week regarding a potential Terrence Ross trade.

Lakers Extend Qualifying Offer To Talen Horton-Tucker

The Lakers have issued a $1.89MM qualifying offer to Talen Horton-Tucker, allowing him to enter restricted free agency, the team announced. Los Angeles will have the right to match any offer sheet Horton-Tucker signs with another club.

Horton-Tucker, 20, recently concluded his second season with the Lakers. He held per-game averages of nine points, 2.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds, playing 20.1 minutes per contest. He also shot 46% from the floor and just 28% from behind the arc.

In addition to Horton-Tucker, the Lakers will see Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond, Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews, Markieff Morris, Jared Dudley and Ben McLemore enter free agency — they’ll all be unrestricted. Big man Montrezl Harrell holds a $9.72MM player option for next season.

The Lakers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Suns this spring — less than a year removed from winning their first title since 2010. The team dealt with numerous injuries this season, finishing with the seventh-best record in the West at 42-30.

Lakers Eyeing Veteran Point Guards

After failing to sign Dennis Schröder to a contract extension during the 2020/21 season, the Lakers will get another chance to sign the veteran to a new deal in free agency this summer. However, it sounds like the team is considering contingency plans to address the point guard spot.

According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, the Lakers “have been on the hunt” for a veteran point guard. Chris Paul of the Suns and Russell Westbrook of the Wizards are among the players on Los Angeles’ list as possible targets, says Spears.

[RELATED: 2021 NBA Offseason Preview: Los Angeles Lakers]

While those names will raise some eyebrows, they come with several caveats. For one, the capped-out Lakers don’t have a clear path to acquiring an impact player in free agency — if Paul turns down his player option with Phoenix, L.A. wouldn’t be able to sign him outright unless he were willing to take a massive discount.

A sign-and-trade is a possibility for CP3. And if he were to pick up his option, he could be acquired via a standard trade. But the Lakers surrendered multiple future draft picks in the Anthony Davis blockbuster and aren’t in position to put together an especially tantalizing trade package for a star. It seems unlikely that Phoenix would want to send Paul to the division-rival Lakers unless the return was significant.

Westbrook is under contract for two more seasons, so he’d also require a trade and there has been no indication so far that the Wizards are looking to move him.

Spears suggests that “there have been talks” about the Lakers acquiring Westbrook in a deal that includes Schröder, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kyle Kuzma. However, it’s unclear which parties have been involved in those “talks” — the wording could indicate internal Lakers conversations or even just speculation amongst league sources. Schröder and Horton-Tucker would both have to agree to be signed-and-traded to D.C. in such a move, further complicating matters.

Paul and Westbrook both have strong ties to Los Angeles – Paul and his family live in the L.A. area, while Westbrook was born and raised in Southern California – but a number of obstacles would have to be overcome for either player to end up with the Lakers this offseason . Still, the fact that the Lakers are considering such options suggests that the team is willing to get creative and isn’t resigned to simply meeting Schröder’s asking price in order to address the point guard position.

Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Schröder, Free Agents

Although Lakers big man Anthony Davis was cleared to return for Game 6 vs. Phoenix, he clearly wasn’t himself on Thursday night, leaving the game for good midway through the first quarter due to his strained groin. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Davis’ injury didn’t get any worse on Thursday, but his pain intensified whenever his mobility was tested.

It never really felt good, but the competitive nature in me wanted to go out there and help the team as best as I could,” Davis said following the loss that ended the Lakers’ season (Twitter link via Mark Medina of USA Today). “My body didn’t agree.”

The Lakers’ loss on Thursday ended a season of “what ifs” for the franchise, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. After flying out of the gates to a 21-6 start, the team dealt with lengthy injury absences to its two stars (Davis and LeBron James), while other key players were affected by COVID-19 (Marc Gasol and Dennis Schröder). Los Angeles never regained its early-season momentum. After winning 21 of its first 27 games, the club won just 21 of its next 45 to finish the regular season, then was eliminated in short order in the playoffs.

It was the first time in LeBron’s 18-year career that he has been knocked out in the first round of the postseason, and while the four-time MVP was disappointed with the loss, he’s looking forward to taking full advantage of a longer offseason. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), James suggested after Thursday’s game that he won’t participate in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Dennis Schröder reportedly turned down a four-year extension worth over $80MM earlier this year, but he said on Thursday that his desire to remain with the Lakers remains strong and is “not even a question,” as Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times details. “It wasn’t about money, because everybody who knows me, it’s not about money either,” he said. “Of course, you want to be fair. But at the end of the day, not everything is about money — for me and my family. At the end of the day, if everything is good, we gonna come back and win a championship next year.”
  • Sources tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that some people in the organization were frustrated by Schröder’s play on the court this season, prompting the team to include him in trade talks for Kyle Lowry at March’s deadline.
  • The Lakers will have to determine which players are their top priorities in free agency, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), who notes that Schröder is just one of several rotation players up for a new contract. Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Andre Drummond, and Markieff Morris are among those headed for unrestricted free agency, and Montrezl Harrell could join them by declining his $9.7MM player option.
  • The Lakers need to upgrade their supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis this offseason, but don’t have a ton of tools at their disposal to do so, says John Hollinger of The Athletic. The club projects to be over the cap and has already traded multiple future first-round picks.
  • Asked after Thursday’s loss about his history of injuries, Davis replied, “I don’t need to prove anything to anyone that’s outside this Lakers organization,” per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. However, Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times argues that Davis’ health and James’ age are growing concerns for the franchise.

Free Agency Rumors: Holmes, Hardaway, Powell, More

Kings center Richaun Holmes is expected to be a sought-after free agent this offseason, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who spoke to a number of league personnel members about the 2021 FA class. Fischer’s sources suggested that a four-year, $80MM deal wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for Holmes.

“I think everyone’s going to be chasing him,” one team analytics staffer told Bleacher Report.

The Kings figure to make an effort to re-sign Holmes. General manager Monte McNair referred to the big man today as “an integral part of the team,” as James Ham of NBC Sports California tweets. And Ham himself made the case that retaining Holmes should be Sacramento’s top priority.

However, since the Kings only have Holmes’ Early Bird rights and don’t project to have a huge chunk of cap room, their ability to make a competitive offer may be limited if his price gets anywhere near as high as Fischer’s sources believed it could. The Hornets and Mavericks are among the other teams expected to have interest in Holmes, according to Fischer.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • One personnel evaluator who spoke to Bleacher Report referred to Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr. as “one of the best pure scorers in the league,” and won’t be surprised if he receives another lucrative multiyear deal now that his four-year, $71MM contract is set to expire.
  • That same personnel evaluator said he believes Trail Blazers guard Norman Powell can get $20MM annually in free agency, according to Fischer. “He’s just a guy that can play with anybody,” the evaluator said of Powell. “He doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. He’s a good defender, he’s a great athlete, he gets to the rim. You can play him at the three, you can play him at the two. He’s a great character guy.”
  • Multiple league executives believe that Lakers guard Dennis Schröder is aiming to be paid like a top-tier point guard and that he’ll be prioritizing a starting role. The Knicks are among the teams mulling a run at him, sources tell Fischer.
  • League executives who spoke to Fischer identified Nets guard Bruce Brown, Knicks big man Nerlens Noel, and Lakers teammates Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker as some other under-the-radar free agents who could be in line for eight-digit annual salaries on their new deals.