Report: Lakers rejected trade that would’ve sent Talen Horton-Tucker to Raptors for 1st-round pick

Zach Stevens
4 Min Read

Starting last season, the Los Angeles Lakers were shopping guard Talen Horton-Tucker in an attempt to bring back some talent that could help them improve right away.

The Lakers eventually sent him to the Utah Jazz along with forward Stanley Johnson for veteran guard Patrick Beverley, but according to Dave McMenamin, they reportedly turned down an opportunity to get a first-round pick from the Toronto Raptors for him.

“I’m told that the Lakers had talks with the Toronto Raptors, where the Raptors, late last year, when it already looked like the Lakers were probably out of it or, at the very least, going to be a low seed and wouldn’t have a likely championship path to go all the way. The Raptors would have traded for Talen Horton-Tucker, traded a first-round pick.” said McMenamin. “So, think about that, the Lakers had another first-round pick on top of the two firsts right now to play with to try to make this team better. … Now, of course, I’m told the trade would have also involved Khem Birch. So, they would have taken some money there, and maybe Birch wouldn’t be the best rotation guy for this group, but that first-round pick is so valuable, and it’s why they’re so hamstrung with what they can pursue right now.”

When Los Angeles originally traded for the draft rights to Horton-Tucker in 2019 (he was the 46th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic), not a whole lot was expected from him. For much of his rookie season, he barely got any playing time.

But once the season resumed inside the Walt Disney World Resort bubble, then-head coach Frank Vogel gave him some spot duty, and he showed an uncanny ability to snake his way to the rim and convert layups, even when being challenged by defenders.

In the 2020-21 season, Horton-Tucker became a rotational player and averaged 9.0 points and 2.8 assists in 20.1 minutes per game. Fans started to see his potential and felt that he could become a very good player if he worked on certain aspects of his game, especially his outside shooting.

It was around that time that he started to see his name come up in trade rumors. One rumor had him going to the Raptors along with Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Kyle Lowry.

Last season, Horton-Tucker didn’t show any measurable improvement, and thus, the trade rumors continued.

So far this season as a member of the Jazz, the 6-foot-4 man is averaging 7.9 points a game on 40.2 percent shooting. It’s the second straight year his overall shooting percentage and 3-point shooting accuracy have dipped from the season prior.

So far, Beverley has not lived up to expectations. Although he has shown good defense and hustle at times, he has been ice-cold offensively. He’s shooting just 27.4 percent overall and 24.4 percent from downtown.

For his career, he has been a 37.5 percent 3-point shooter.

Given Beverley’s offensive struggles this year, it looks like Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka dropped the ball, as he could’ve acquired a valuable first-round draft pick for a player who currently doesn’t look like he’s worth such an asset.

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Zach has always had a profound love and respect for the Lakers that has inspired him to write about the franchise. He has a great deal of admiration for LeBron James, and his overall knowledge about the NBA has made him a solid addition to the Lakers Daily staff.