Talen Horton-Tucker

Western Notes: Rollins, Horton-Tucker, Valanciunas, Pinson

The Warriors are optimistic that second-round pick Ryan Rollins will be ready for training camp, according to Shams Charania and Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

Rollins, who signed a three-year contract in July, was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot shortly after the draft. The Warriors will know more about his status during the next couple of weeks as he ramps up his rehab.

We have more Western Conference info:

  • Talen Horton-Tucker, acquired by the Jazz in the Patrick Beverley deal with the Lakers, failed to develop into a 3-and-D role player for his former club, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune writes. However, the rebuilding Jazz can afford to feature him in more on-ball opportunities and take advantage of his driving ability, where he can create mismatches.
  • Pelicans center and Lithuania national team member Jonas Valanciunas created some concern after a postgame press conference at the EuroBasket tournament but it proved to be a minor ailment, Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net reports. He limped his way to the locker room and was visibly in some pain but it turned out to be simply muscle cramps.
  • Theo Pinson was one of the main culprits why the Mavericks were penalized for their lack of bench decorum during the playoffs. Pinson will need more playing time to justify his spot on the roster during the upcoming season, according to Eddie Sefko of Mavs.com. With Jalen Brunson gone, the 6’5” guard could carve out a bench role, as there are signs he could provide a boost with his shooting.

Lakers Rumors: THT, Westbrook, Reaves, Nunn, Carmelo

Before the Lakers traded Talen Horton-Tucker to the Jazz in the Patrick Beverley deal, the Pacers expressed interest in the 21-year-old wing, Michael Scotto said in the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

As Scotto explains, the Pacers were interested in pursuing a deal that sent Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, and Daniel Theis to the Lakers in exchange for Russell Westbrook, Horton-Tucker, and Los Angeles’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks. However, L.A. has been reluctant to include both of those first-rounders in any deal not involving Kyrie Irving, and wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about swapping Horton-Tucker for Theis.

Although Horton-Tucker is off the table, Indiana remains one of the two most likely landing spots for Westbrook, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who says a deal involving the Pacers and Westbrook could involve just one of Hield or Turner — the Pacers still have $30MM+ in cap room and could take on Westbrook’s $47MM+ expiring contract without sending out both players. Still, Buha believes that Utah is a more viable destination for Westbrook than Indiana.

Here’s more on the Lakers from the HoopsHype podcast:

  • Scotto has gotten the impression that Austin Reaves and the Lakers have mutual interest in continuing their relationship beyond the 2022/23 season. Reaves will be a restricted free agent next summer and will be seeking a pay bump on his minimum-salary contract.
  • While Kendrick Nunn has been around the Lakers’ facility and has been working out, his ramp-up process has been slowed than anticipated, according to Buha. Nunn said a month ago that he feels 100% healthy, but the acquisition of Beverley gives the team some extra insurance at point guard.
  • A reunion between Carmelo Anthony and the Lakers remains possible, in Buha’s view, but he believes the veteran forward is more likely to land elsewhere. L.A. still needs more shooting, which Anthony could provide, but also wants to continue to upgrade its perimeter defense, which isn’t one of Carmelo’s strengths.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, THT, Beverley, Schröder

It remains very possible that the Lakers move Russell Westbrook in a trade before the 2022/23 season begins, but if Rob Pelinka and his front office can’t find a deal they like, new head coach Darvin Ham is determined to “carve out a real role” for Westbrook, Marc Stein writes at Substack.

Sources tell Stein that the Lakers have thus far resisted the idea of taking the John Wall route with Westbrook and having him sit at home while he remains under contract with the team. The Rockets took that approach with Wall last season and spent the season exploring the trade market before eventually reaching a buyout agreement with the veteran point guard this summer, when he had one year left on his contract. Westbrook is entering the final year of his own deal.

As Stein observes, there were indications on social media last week that the Lakers are prepared to incorporate Westbrook if he’s not traded in the coming weeks. LeBron James tweeted that he expects his teammate to “go off” this season, and the Lakers’ official Twitter account included Westbrook in a series of videos and photos of players’ offseason workouts.

Here’s more from Stein on the Lakers:

  • League sources tell Stein that the Lakers initially resisted the idea of trading Talen Horton-Tucker for Patrick Beverley when they started to discuss a potential deal with the Jazz in July, since L.A. wants to get younger and more athletic this season. However, after LeBron signed an extension, the club seemed more willing to shift into win-now mode, Stein writes, which made Beverley a better fit than Horton-Tucker.
  • Stein, who first reported last Tuesday that the Lakers were giving “legit consideration” to the idea of signing Dennis Schröder, says it’s unclear whether the acquisition of Beverley eliminates Schröder as a possibility. The team has a good deal of depth at point guard for the time being, with Westbrook, Beverley, and Kendrick Nunn all in the mix, but if Westbrook is traded, that might re-open the door for Schröder.
  • In case you missed it, we outlined on Friday why it will be challenging for the Lakers to include meaningful protections on their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks if they trade them.

Lakers/Jazz Trade Notes: Beverley, Next Steps, Trade Grades, THT

Veteran point guard Patrick Beverley has had quite the jet-setting summer. He was involved in a second offseason trade today when the Lakers acquired him from the Jazz, who had landed him as part of their return package for Rudy Gobert. Los Angeles sent Utah swingman Talen Horton-Tucker and forward Stanley Johnson in the exchange.

Due to his involvement in that Gobert trade, Beverley couldn’t have be been aggregated with the contract of another player prior to September 6 this year, when his aggregate restriction expires. However, as Bobby Marks of ESPN (YouTube video link) notes, the Jazz didn’t have to wait until September to move Beverley because he was traded on his own in the deal with the Lakers.

Marks opines that the 6’4″ Horton-Tucker – whom Marks considers essentially a small forward more than a shooting guard – and the 6’6″ Johnson, who played mostly at power forward with L.A., are the better players in the deal and says their athletic upside is worth the risk for the Jazz. However, Marks believes that, as long as he is able to stay healthy, Beverley will be a better fit with Los Angeles than Horton-Tucker or Johnson proved to be.

Here’s more news and notes following the deal:

  • In the wake of the Beverley trade, HoopsHype’s Yassi Gozlan considers possible next steps for both the Lakers and Jazz. Gozlan views Russell Westbrook as the next potential trade domino to fall in L.A., and expects Utah to consider offloading other veterans on its roster.
  • Both the Jazz and the Lakers benefited from the deal, per Zach Harper of The Athletic, who grades both clubs on the transaction. He notes that, in Beverley, the Lakers are adding a proven veteran poised to reinvigorate the club with contributions that go beyond the box score. On the Utah side of the equation, Harper writes that the Jazz are essentially banking on the 21-year-old Horton-Tucker’s potential.
  • Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated also weighed in with his own trade-grade column, giving both clubs mediocre, passing scores.
  • Talen Horton-Tucker will get plenty of opportunities to play with the ball in his hands in Utah, which could be the best use of his unique skill set and physical gifts, opines Sam Vecenie of The Athletic. Horton-Tucker was a clunky fit in Los Angeles as a below-average three-point shooter who failed to consistently defend at a high level. As an athletic creator, Horton-Tucker has shown flashes of intrigue with his drive-and-kick playmaking. The Jazz will be able to give him more time to develop and improve in his current areas of strength, away from the win-now pressures of L.A.

Jazz Trade Patrick Beverley To Lakers

2:10pm: The trade is now official, the Jazz announced in a press release.

5:39am: The Lakers and Jazz are finalizing a trade that will send guard Patrick Beverley to Los Angeles in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Sources tell Wojnarowski that the deal is on track to be completed on Thursday.

Beverley, 34, is a talented perimeter defender who can be a positive contributor on offense as well. He helped get the Timberwolves back to the playoffs last season, averaging 9.2 points, 4.6 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game in 58 appearances (25.4 MPG). He’s also a career 37.8% three-point shooter across 10 NBA seasons.

Beverley, who is on an expiring $13MM contract, was traded from Minnesota to Utah as part of the Rudy Gobert blockbuster last month. However, he was always viewed as a candidate to be flipped to a new team, given that the Jazz are in retooling mode.

According to Wojnarowski, Beverley – who was in Los Angeles as a Clipper from 2017-21 – was enthusiastic about the idea of joining the Lakers in a trade and was “thrilled” to learn of the agreement between L.A. and Utah.

The Lakers had long been viewed as a potential suitor for Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who was considered the team’s top trade target this offseason. However, once Kevin Durant withdrew his trade request and it became clear that Irving would likely remain in Brooklyn, Los Angeles pivoted to acquiring another point guard without having to include Russell Westbrook and draft compensation in the deal.

Johnson, who is on an expiring minimum-salary contract for 2022/23, is an NBA journeyman, so Horton-Tucker is the centerpiece of the package headed to Utah. The former second-round pick had an up-and-down 2021/22 season for the Lakers, averaging 10.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.7 APG in 60 games (25.2 MPG), but struggling to score efficiently, with a modest shooting line of .416/.269/.800.

Horton-Tucker is still only 21 years old, so the Jazz presumably view the athletic wing as a player with some untapped potential. He’s under contract for $10.26MM in 2022/23, with an $11.02MM player option for the ’23/24 season.

Both the Lakers and Jazz are candidates to make additional deals before the season begins.

L.A. still has Westbrook and its 2027 and 2029 first-round picks to dangle in trade discussions, and the idea of making a play for the Pacers duo of Buddy Hield and Myles Turner is even more intriguing now that the club has fortified its backcourt by agreeing to acquire Beverley. For now, the Lakers have $34MM in cap room for the summer of 2023, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), which will be a factor the team considers as its weighs additional trades.

In Utah, meanwhile, Donovan Mitchell remains a trade candidate, and the Jazz would likely be open to discussing deals involving veterans like Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley, Mike Conley, and Rudy Gay as well.

Lakers Notes: James, Westbrook, Trade Options, Randle, Horton-Tucker, Walker

LeBron James became eligible on Thursday to sign a one- or two-year contract extension. While the Lakers and James have next June 30 — the day before James would become an unrestricted free agent — to reach an agreement, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin indicated on NBA Today that there’s mutual interest in getting an extension done (video link).

“All signs point toward both sides looking to extend their partnership together,” McMenamin said, adding “Overall, both sides recognize they can help one another get to their mutual goal, which is to compete at a high level and stay relevant.”

James and his representative, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, met with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham at the team’s practice facility on Thursday. Paul told McMenamin that they were “productive talks” and he “expects them to continue.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • The start of training camp could be a soft deadline to trade Russell Westbrook, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Buha says both sides would like to avoid the massive off-court distraction of a media circus constantly speculating about Westbrook’s future.
  • In the same mailbag piece, Buha indicates that, for now at least, the Pacers seem more willing to get a Westbrook deal done than the Nets or another other possible suitor.
  • Despite issues of spacing and long-term contract concerns, Julius Randle would still be a better fit with James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook as a third star, Buha argues. However, Westbrook is mainly a fallback option for the Knicks if they’re unable to acquire Donovan Mitchell.
  • Talen Horton-Tucker isn’t likely to be a regular member of the team’s rotation due to his skill set, in Buha’s view. His primary strengths are ballhandling and shot creation and the team already has plenty of players who can provide that.
  • Free agent acquisition Lonnie Walker will fill Malik Monk‘s former role of instant offense off the bench, Buha adds. Walker is a streaky shooter but shot selection and defense are concerns.

Lakers, Pacers Reengage In Buddy Hield Trade Talks

The Lakers and Pacers have reengaged in trade talks centered around Indiana sharpshooter Buddy Hield, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported on Wednesday during an appearance on NBA Today (video link).

The Lakers, of course, nearly traded for Hield last summer, but instead pivoted to acquire Russell Westbrook, so the deal fell apart. However, Hield has been linked to L.A. numerous times over the past month, with reports indicating that general manager Rob Pelinka continues to express interest in the veteran guard, who was Pelinka’s former client when he was an agent.

McMenamin doesn’t specify whether the recent talks involved Westbrook this time around or not, noting that it’s possible that Talen Horton-Tucker could have been dangled by the Lakers instead. Hield’s declining contract structure — he made $23MM last season but $21.2MM in 2022/23 — makes it easier for the Lakers to match his incoming salary without including Westbrook.

Hield, 29, appeared in 81 games last season (32 starts, 30.9 MPG) split between the Kings and Pacers, averaging a combined 15.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 2.8 APG on .406/.366/.874 shooting. He was dealt to the Pacers as part of the trade that sent Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana and Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento.

Hield has been a poor defensive player his entire career, but his best skill is something that’s always in demand — he’s a high-volume three-point shooter who has converted 39.8% of his career attempts behind the arc, and the Lakers struggled in that department last season, ranking 22nd in the league in three-point percentage. By contrast, Westbrook shot just 29.8% from deep last season, and Horton-Tucker was even worse at 26.9%.

McMenamin, like his ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst, reiterates that there’s “no traction” on a Westbrook/Kyrie Irving swap between the Lakers and Nets.

Stein’s Latest: Mitchell, Knicks, Sixers, Lakers, Beverley

New York’s impending pursuit of Jalen Brunson became obvious once a Knicks contingent led by Julius Randle, William Wesley and Allan Houston was spotted at Game 1 of the first-round series between the Mavericks and Jazz. However, as Marc Stein writes in his lastest article for Substack, it’s clear now that New York had designs on pursuing Donovan Mitchell as well as Brunson.

Recent reports from Tony Jones of The Athletic and Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune indicate that the Jazz are looking for six first-round picks and young players in exchange for Mitchell, but the Knicks balked at that asking price. According to Stein, even if the Knicks have more draft picks to offer at the moment, they should be “careful not to underestimate” the Heat and Nets as potential Mitchell suitors.

Under president Leon Rose, the Knicks have unsuccessfully pursued other star players, which is why it’s so important to the incumbent regime to land a player of Mitchell’s stature, Stein says.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Mitchell has multiple ties to the Knicks, Stein adds. Mitchell is “very close” with Knicks assistant Johnnie Bryant, who was an assistant with the Jazz for several seasons and recently had multiple interviews for Utah’s head coaching job. He’s also friends with Brunson due to their shared connection with Eric Paschall, who is Mitchell’s closest friend in the NBA and was college teammates with Brunson at Villanova, per Stein.
  • Like the Knicks’ pursuit of Brunson, the Sixers are likely to face a tampering investigation due to the signing of P.J. Tucker, according to Stein, who reported four days before free agency opened that several rival teams were convinced that Tucker would land with Philadelphia. Stein and others had linked Tucker to the Sixers even before the draft, a week before free agency opened, and Stein notes that Tucker’s agent informed Shams Charania of The Athletic that he was heading to Philly a minute after free agency opened.
  • It has been rumored that the Lakers might be interested in Jazz guard Patrick Beverley, but a source tells Stein that L.A. has no plans to deal Talen Horton-Tucker for the veteran. The Lakers have been prioritizing speed and youth in the offseason, so swapping a 21-year-old for a 34-year-old would detract from that, Stein notes. Horton-Tucker had been floated as a possibility because the Lakers don’t have any other mid-size contracts for salary-matching purposes — he’ll make $10.26MM in 2022/23, while Beverley will earn $13MM.

Latest On Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant‘s trade request increases the chances of a Kyrie Irving trade to the Lakers, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic report.

A straight Irving for Russell Westbrook swap would not work financially, so the Nets would either have to add another contract or include a third — and perhaps fourth team — for salary-matching purposes. Irving would be a better fit for LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Westbrook, providing better spacing offensively.

A potential deal could also lead the Lakers to part with first-rounders in 2027 or later.

If the Nets don’t want Westbrook’s salary, a third team could take that contract, with one of the Lakers’ picks and potentially Talen Horton-Tucker and/or Kendrick Nunn being involved.

A source told the Athletic that the chances of the Lakers landing Durant in a deal involving Davis is “zero.” Their focus, apparently, is on Irving.

We have more on the Durant/Irving situation:

  • The Nets don’t appear to be interested in Deandre Ayton, sources told John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Thus, a potential trade with the Suns may not include the restricted free agent or it would have to involve a third team.
  • Irving is “fully supportive” of Durant’s trade request, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (hat tip to RealGM). Irving knew Durant trade request was possible when he opted in to the final year of his contract.
  • Ben Simmons would be the major impediment to the Nuggets getting involved in the Durant sweepstakes, Mike Singer of the Denver Post notes. League rules stipulate that teams can’t have two players on a rookie scale max extension that have been acquired via trade. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. would both fit that description.
  • In the days before Irving’s choice to opt-in, sources close to Ayton raised the possibility of an Ayton-Mikal Bridges deal with the Nets, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. It was unclear at that time whether or not Durant was going to ask for a trade.
  • In the same piece, Alex Schiffer says he’s heard the Nets want multiple All-Stars in any deal for Durant.

Los Angeles Notes: Ott, Westbrook, Brogdon, Swider, Clippers’ Targets

Darvin Ham‘s Lakers staff is starting to take shape. Nets assistant Jordan Ott will join him on the West Coast and move into a more prominent role in front of the Lakers’ bench, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. Ott has been with Brooklyn since 2016. He served as Steve Nash’s offensive coordinator this past season.

We have more from the Los Angeles teams: