Last summer, Rob Pelinka and the Lakers’ front office bet on the potential of Talen Horton-Tucker — and his value as a potential trade piece — over keeping Alex Caruso or other young prospects. That hasn’t worked on the court, Caruso has thrived with the Bulls while Horton-Tucker has not taken the step forward the Lakers bet on.
It also is not working on the trade market — Horton-Tucker’s play this season does not have teams lining up to deal for him (or at least trade quality players to get him). Multiple reports have circulated about the Lakers offering Horton-Tucker, Kendrick Nunn (who has yet to play a game this season due to a knee issue) and their 2027 first-round pick. Marc Stein said in a recent newsletter the Lakers offered that package to Detroit for Jerami Grant but got nowhere. Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer talks about the Lakers shopping that pick around.
They’re calling teams offering a future first, Kendrick Nunn, and Talen Horton-Tucker, who has underwhelmed this season, and no one is biting yet… The Lakers’ problem is THT just isn’t valued highly enough by teams and that 2027 pick is a long time from conveying.
The conventional wisdom is the Lakers can get a rotation player — maybe a starter-level player — back for that package, but not a game-changer. While Grant might be their top target (and a good fit at the four when Anthony Davis or LeBron James is at the five), it is expected the Pistons will get an offer they like better than what Los Angeles can put on the table.
There is an internal pressure around the 23-24 Lakers to do something to shake things up — this team was supposed to be a contender. That shake-up could be bad news for coach Frank Vogel, but even with some kind of trade the reality is most of the improvement the Lakers are hoping for will have to come internally. Or it will not come at all.