Welcome to NBA trade season. The February 10th deadline is quickly approaching and it’s no secret the Lakers (24-27) are looking to upgrade their roster. Los Angeles doesn’t have much to offer, but they’re actively shopping 21-year-old guard Talen Horton Tucker - one of the few assets they have.
The question is, how much trade value does Talen Horton-Tucker have?
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explained why assessing THT’s value is two-fold.
“The problem with THT, is number one, he hasn’t played very well this year and that’s predictable because you put him with someone like Russell Westbrook. They’re basically similar players in that their non-shooters, who need the ball in their hands to create…it’s very hard to play THT and Westbrook together.”
This season, THT is shooting just 40.7% from the field and 24.8% from three in 26.1 minutes per game. He’s not exactly setting the world on fire, but at 21, is still a promising young prospect.
Pincus is of the opinion that THT’s contract situation is a much bigger hurdle in potential trades.
“It’s not that he’s overpaid. The problem is the length of the contract. He has two more years and the last year, is a player option. If you trade for him, you’re basically getting him for one more year and then, he’s an unrestricted free agent. Normally when you trade for a prospect, they’re going to hit restricted free agency which gives the team that acquires him to keep that player no matter what.”
Therein lies the problem for Pincus when it comes to a team potentially acquiring THT. If he does elevate his game on a new roster, his new team will have to pay market rate, if not more, to retain him. It’s a unique scenario for a 21-year-old NBA player and one that doesn’t play in the Lakers favor.
It's also important to note that THT is a Klutch Sports client. Klutch hasn't exactly developed a reputation of negotiating team friendly deals.
THT is one of the few trade chips the Lakers have, but it might not be worth as much as they might think.