The Los Angeles Lakers are fighting for a berth in the Play-In Tournament as little has gone right since winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament. They have won just six of their 20 road games and are hovering around .500, despite LeBron James and Anthony Davis staying healthy. The Lakers must shake things up before the Feb. 8 trade deadline if they want to jump into the title race.
They have assets, but does Los Angeles gamble on a third star or try to add role players? The latter worked in 2023 after dumping Russell Westbrook and moving on from that disastrous trade. Can they repeat the magic this year?
Pelinka could turn his sights on former Lakers. Many would already have comfort playing with LeBron and AD, which could ease the transition. They need upgrades, but how would these players fare back in Hollywood?
11. Talen Horton-Tucker
The Lakers acquired Horton-Tucker in a 2019 draft night trade with the Orlando Magic. The second-round draft pick played just six games in his rookie season but performed his way into the rotation in year two. At one point, he was the team’s premier young talent and viewed as untouchable by the fan base.
Los Angeles traded him to the Utah Jazz in Aug. of 2022 for Patrick Beverley in a move that did not work out. THT is in the final year of his contract, and the Jazz could look to move before the deadline. The 23-year-old is averaging 11.0 points, 4.2 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in just 22.0 minutes per game this season.
Verdict: Talen Horton-Tucker does not fit the Lakers current roster. They need ball-handling and playmaking help, but his inability to space the floor and defensive struggles would hold them back. Do not be surprised to see him on the move before the deadline, but it would be surprising if he was wearing purple and gold again.