Talen Horton-Tucker

VanVleet, Bembry, Horton-Tucker Receive One-Game Suspensions

The NBA has suspended three players – Raptors guards Fred VanVleet and DeAndre’ Bembry, along with Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker – for one game apiece, the league announced today in a press release.

The three players left the bench area during an on-court altercation during the Raptors/Lakers game on Tuesday (video link). After Dennis Schröder committed a foul on a OG Anunoby shot attempt, the two players got tangled up and Anunoby grabbed Schroder by the leg, flipping him to the ground. Players from both teams entered the fray at that point.

According to today’s announcement, Anunoby received a $30K fine for initiating the incident, while Lakers big man Montrezl Harrell has been docked $20K for aggressively entering the altercation and shoving Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, the one-game suspension will be costliest for VanVleet, who will forfeit $146,552 of his salary. Bembry ($11,980) and Horton-Tucker ($10,469) will also each lose one game’s worth of pay.

Horton-Tucker and Bembry will serve their suspensions tonight, while VanVleet will serve his one-game ban once he’s healthy and ready to return from his hip ailment.

Although they’ll be missing Horton-Tucker, and Kyle Kuzma is listed as questionable with calf tightness, the Lakers will get some reinforcements for Thursday’s contest vs. Miami, as head coach Frank Vogel said today that both Ben McLemore (protocols) and Andre Drummond (toe) will be available (Twitter link via Mike Trudell).

Pacific Notes: CP3, Lakers Cap, Hield, THT

Suns All-Star point guard Chris Paul has a $44MM player option for the 2021/22 season, but John Hollinger of The Athletic wonders if the 35-year-old may consider an extension before the year ends or possibly a Gordon Hayward-esque move during the offseason.

Hollinger suggests that, just as the Hornets forward did during the 2020 offseason, Paul could opt out of the final year of his extant deal this summer for longer-term money, at a slightly lower yearly number.

Hollinger expects ambitious clubs like the Mavericks, Heat, Knicks and even Pelicans to be interested in Paul, who is still seeking a title in his 16th NBA season out of Wake Forest.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Should the Lakers want to retain new center Andre Drummond, reserve big man Montrezl Harrell (likely to opt out of the $9.7MM second year of his current deal in the offseason), point guard Dennis Schröder, and guards Talen Horton-Tucker and Alex Caruso, they could face significant cap challenges, as Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report outlines. Pincus notes that the best route to retaining all three would be if the Lakers could get Drummond, currently grappling with a toe injury, to agree to a team-friendly deal worth the taxpayer mid-level exception (worth a projected $5.9MM).
  • The NBA announced on Monday (Twitter link) that it has fined Kings swingman Buddy Hield $20K after an exchange of words with referees during a 129-128 defeat to the Bucks on April 3.
  • Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma is looking for more court awareness out of shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker, writes Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. “He’s been blessed with a gift to be able to get into the paint anytime he wants,” Kuzma raved. “With that being said, getting into the paint means reaching opportunities to find other guys shots.”

Lakers Notes: Horton-Tucker, Bigs, Roster Spot, Schedule

In a comprehensive new mailbag covering the Lakers, Jovan Buha of The Athletic discussed the impending free agency of second-year shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker, the team’s unwillingness to meet the Raptors’ asking price for point guard Kyle Lowry, and more.

Buha expects the Lakers to match any contract offer extended to Horton-Tucker this summer, even if a rival team were to offer a backloaded contract using the Arenas provision. The promising 20-year-old guard’s athleticism and ball-handling abilities are intriguing enough to warrant a wager on his future potential.

There’s more out of the Staples Center:

  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel discussed how he would utilize reserve big men Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol, with Andre Drummond set to become the long-term solution as the team’s starting center, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Vogel anticipates using Gasol, known for his passing and jump-shooting, as a power forward on offense while the rim-rolling Harrell would function as a de facto center. Vogel plans to reverse their assignments on the other end.
  • LA coach Frank Vogel indicated that the Lakers could use their final open roster spot to add any kind of player regardless of position or skill set, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. The recent signing of center Andre Drummond and the club’s abundance of competent veterans at the power forward and center positions would seem to make adding a guard or wing the most pragmatic option.
  • The Lakers have been struggling to stay afloat in a crowded West without injured All-Stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James, writes Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. The team is 2-5 since James suffered a high-ankle sprain on March 20, though the club boasts a solid 104.8 defensive rating across those seven games. With L.A. embarking on a seven-game road trip, the team is hoping to get improved offensive performances from its role players. “We know what we capable of,” power forward Markieff Morris said. “We know that this was a quick turnaround from winning a championship last year, so nobody got any rest, and we know our two top guys are down right now, but we know they [are] coming back well-rested.”

Raptors Notes: Lowry, Ujiri, Bembry, Watson

During the hours leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweeted that the Sixers and Raptors appeared to be “at the one-yard line” in their discussions on a Kyle Lowry trade. Obviously, those talks didn’t make it into the end zone and Lowry ended up staying put. But Sam Amick of The Athletic hears that Toronto did feel at one point as if a deal with Philadelphia was close.

According to Amick, the deal would have included Danny Green, who would’ve been re-routed to a third team. It’s a safe bet that at least one of Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle would have been part of the package too. However, the draft compensation involved in the proposed trade was the obstacle that held things up, a source tells Amick.

Following up today on the Lowry discussions, Grange says (via Twitter) that the Sixers knew Miami was Lowry’s preferred landing spot, so they had to view him as a possible rental. That limited what they were willing to offer beyond Maxey, Grange adds. The Lakers were in a similar boat with Talen Horton-Tucker, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, while the Heat were unwilling to offer Tyler Herro for a player they could theoretically sign in free agency this summer.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • While the Raptors didn’t trade Lowry at the deadline, it’s hard to shake the sense that more drastic changes could be coming as soon as this offseason, Grange writes for Sportsnet.ca. While Lowry could sign a new contract with Toronto, it seems just as likely that he could head elsewhere, possibly in a sign-and-trade deal.
  • Like Lowry, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is also on an expiring contract, and while he spoke glowingly about the franchise on Thursday, he gave no indication that an in-season extension is around the corner. “We’ll visit this at the end of the season at some point,” Ujiri said of his contract with Toronto, per Grange.
  • During his media session on Thursday, Ujiri addressed the idea that the Raptors’ asking price for Lowry was too high: “I was surprised (the offers) weren’t better because, to be honest, I’ve viewed him as somebody that can go out and put a stamp on what you can do this year. … I’ve lived it, I’ve seen it… I know what the guy does. I know who he is. And that’s the truth. So, yeah, we’re going to (be) skewed in some kind of way and I’m biased in many ways with the players we have and I hope I’m pardoned that if I valued him too much, but that’s what I believe in today.”
  • Raptors reserves DeAndre’ Bembry and Paul Watson have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and won’t play on Friday night, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

Lakers Rumors: Lowry, Schröder, THT, Caruso, Gasol

The Lakers were open to dealing point guard Dennis Schröder and longtime wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for veteran Raptors guard Kyle Lowry ahead of today’s trade deadline, but were resistant to including ascendant shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker in a deal, according to Jovan Buha and Bill Oram of The Athletic.

Buha and Oram note that Schroder, KCP, and “some draft compensation” were being discussed in exchange for the six-time Toronto All-Star. Los Angeles team president Rob Pelinka apparently balked at including Horton-Tucker, a promising 20-year-old second-year combo guard.

The Lakers continue to negotiate a possible long-term contract extension with starting point guard Schröder, currently earning $15.5MM in the last season of an expiring four-year deal, but remain far apart in those talks. The 27-year-old veteran is hoping to net at least $20MM annually, according to Buha and Oram, who note that this price tag contributed to the front office being open to moving Schröder in a deal for Lowry.

The Lakers’ willingness to trade valuable two-way swingman Caldwell-Pope appear to be about prioritizing re-signing Horton-Tucker and point guard Alex Caruso during the 2021 offseason. A league source tells Buha and Oram that both players could garner deals worth the full mid-level exception, which projects to be worth more than $9.5MM next season.

With Schröder now sticking with LA through the trade deadline, sources tell Buha and Oram that the club hopes to re-sign the point guard this summer, too.

The Lakers currently still have two open roster spots, and are going to use the buyout market to acquire new additions heading into the home stretch of the season. Los Angeles appears to be one of the top finalists in the race to acquire 27-year-old Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, a two-time All-Star, once he finalizes his expected buyout with Cleveland. In addition to a veteran center, Buha and Oram anticipate that the Lakers will seek a defensive-oriented free agent swingman for their other available roster position.

In other Lakers news, starting center Marc Gasol will be back on the court for the injury-depleted club tonight against the Sixers, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The veteran big man will only be allowed to play about 15 minutes tonight during his first game action this month, after being placed in the NBA’s coronavirus-related health and safety protocols.

Trade Rumors: Lowry, Knicks, Ball, Suns, Nuggets

Kyle Lowry‘s future is the focus around the NBA right now, Shams Charania said on Stadium’s live trade deadline show on Twitter.

According to Charania, the Raptors remain seriously engaged with the Heat and Lakers, having been offered packages headed by Duncan Robinson (Miami) or Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (L.A.). Toronto is pushing for the inclusion of Tyler Herro or Talen Horton-Tucker in any deal with the Heat or Lakers, says Charania.

Charania adds that the Heat are believed to be Lowry’s preferred destination.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Knicks have remained engaged with the Pelicans today about a possible Lonzo Ball trade, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. New York is also receiving inquiries on center Mitchell Robinson, according to Begley, though it’s not clear if the team is open at all to moving Robinson.
  • As of earlier this afternoon, the Suns weren’t close to making any deals, and all signs pointed to them standing pat at the deadline, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Nuggets are likely done dealing after agreeing to trades for Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Charania’s Latest: LeBron, Fournier, Raptors, Holmes, More

There’s an initial expectation that the high ankle sprain LeBron James suffered over the weekend will sideline the Lakers star for multiple weeks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

As Charania explains, James has been incredibly durable throughout his career and has a high pain tolerance, but high ankle sprains are generally multi-week injuries and the Lakers will want to play it safe with the superstar forward to ensure he’s back to 100% by the time the playoffs begin in May. The team has a 28-15 record and isn’t in any danger of losing a playoff spot, so James won’t be rushed back.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Celtics are eyeing Magic guard Evan Fournier, sources tell The Athletic. Fournier’s $17MM expiring contract could be absorbed using Boston’s $28.5MM trade exception.
  • Charania adds the Raptors to the list of teams showing interest in Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Toronto is also – along with the Hornets – among the clubs interested in Kings center Richaun Holmes, according to Charania.
  • Although the Mavericks have discussed a possible Andre Drummond trade with the Cavaliers, Dallas is more likely to pursue the veteran center if he’s bought out, says Charania.
  • Teams around the NBA are monitoring Raptors swingman Norman Powell and Lakers wing Talen Horton-Tucker, per Charania. Both players are eligible for free agency in 2021 — Powell will be unrestricted, while Horton-Tucker will be restricted.

Lakers Notes: Trade Deadline, Center, Caruso

Several key Lakers contributors, including Dennis Schröder, Alex Caruso, and Talen Horton-Tucker are up for new deals this offseason, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said in the latest episode of The Woj Pod that he has the sense the team would like to move some long-term money off its books to create more flexibility to re-sign those players.

“I do think they would like to free up some of that money they owe down the line to put themselves in position to keep the guys they have there,” Wojnarowski said, per RealGM. “I think that’s kind of at the center of some of their talks here around the trade deadline.”

While Woj didn’t specifically name Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as players the Lakers are discussing in trades, he observed that they’re the non-stars on the roster who have multiyear contracts. Kuzma would be tricky to move this year because he has a contract extension going into effect in 2021/22, so if L.A. wants to move some long-term money, KCP could be the team’s top trade candidate by default.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic breaks down the defensive performance of Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, weighing whether the Lakers need to pursue a center upgrade via trade or on the buyout market. Buha contends that the concerns about the club’s interior defense have been overblown and that the return of Anthony Davis could sufficiently address the issue.
  • Lakers guard Alex Caruso, who has missed the team’s last two games, has been cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be available vs. Charlotte on Thursday night, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin relays (via Twitter).
  • In case you missed it, the Lakers are reportedly among the teams to watch if free agent Isaiah Thomas gets another NBA opportunity.

Lakers Rumors: Caruso, THT, Schröder, Jones

The Lakers have superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis locked up to long-term contracts, but will face some challenges during the 2021 offseason as they look to retain some of their key role players, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

One of those players is Alex Caruso, who will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career (he re-signed with the Lakers as a restricted FA in 2019). While Caruso’s numbers (5.8 PPG, 2.4 APG) are relatively modest, he’s a solid 3-point shooter (38.8%) and a capable defender who will be hitting the open market in his prime at age 27.

Caruso is expected to have suitors, according to Windhorst, who says some league executives think the veteran guard’s market could be in the neighborhood of the full, non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which will be worth around $9.5MM.

While I’d be surprised if Caruso got the full MLE from a rival team, there certainly may be clubs looking to put pressure on the Lakers by poaching away some of their rotation players, which could result in some higher offers than expected.

Let’s round up a few more Lakers notes…

  • Second-year wing Talen Horton-Tucker is another player whom teams may compete over during the 2021 free agent period, per Windhorst. “He’s a gifted defender with great length and great upside who’s just 20 years old,” one Eastern Conference executive told ESPN. “In this market, that’s exactly the type of player you want to chase.” Horton-Tucker will be a restricted free agent who will be subject to the Arenas provision, meaning a rival suitor could put pressure on the Lakers by offering him a backloaded three- or four-year deal.
  • The extend-and-trade restrictions that limited Dennis Schröder‘s ability to sign a longer-term extension before he reaches free agency have lifted, so it’s safe to assume he and the Lakers will explore a new deal. Windhorst identifies Dejounte Murray (four years, $64MM), Bogdan Bogdanovic (four years, $72MM), and Fred VanVleet (four years, $85MM) as some potential points of comparison for the Schröder negotiations.
  • Veteran center Damian Jones looked good in his first appearance as a Laker on Sunday, recording eight points, three rebounds, and two blocks in eight minutes of action in a blowout win over Golden State. Jones, who is on a 10-day contract, is auditioning for a longer look with the team, as Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register writes. “I think he’s got a shot to be here (longer) if he can just do what he did out there,” Kyle Kuzma said of Jones.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Horton-Tucker, Williams, Wiggins

The Clippers have seen their bench production nosedive during the 2020/21 season thus far, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Los Angeles is averaging a league-low -5.3 plus-minus through its first 10 games, according to Swanson. This is a marked drop-off from years past, as former Clipper Montrezl Harrell was the Sixth Man of the Year for the 2019/20 season and longtime Clipper Lou Williams won that honor in ’18/19.

“We are going to figure that out,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said of the Clippers’ bench’s struggles. “It is a good problem to have, especially when you can get Marcus (Morris) back, who has been a starter and now is coming off the bench. You have that kind of talent coming off the bench, it adds a different dynamic to your team.”

There’s more out of California:

  • Lakers reserve shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker, a restricted free agent in 2021, is expected to draw interest from several squads during the offseason, including possibly the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Mavericks, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Los Angeles possesses Horton-Tucker’s Early Bird rights. While the Lakers could technically match any offer for Horton-Tucker, an opposing team’s GM speculates that a rival club could outbid make it hard on L.A. “Teams that have a lot of cap space and are looking to gamble on a young guy, why not put your money into him?” the GM wonders. “The upside is obvious.”
  • A rotation tweak by the Clippers has freed up backup guard Lou Williams, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports. L.A. coach Tyronn Lue and his staff have opted to surround Williams with four solid defenders on the floor.
  • The 2020 trade deadline deal wherein the Warriors sent D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves in a package for swingman Andrew Wiggins and a top-three protected 2021 first-round draft pick continues to pay off for Golden State, according to Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. After a rocky start, Wiggins has transformed into a solid two-way option on the wing to help fill the void left by injured Warriors star Klay Thompson. Through 10 games this season, Wiggins is currently averaging 17.5 PPG on 43.3% shooting from the floor and 38.5% shooting from deep, on 5.2 attempts. The 6-4 Warriors are the No. 4 seed in the West.