The Toronto Raptors may have had some degree of interest in acquiring Talen Horton-Tucker from the Los Angeles Lakers, but it quickly faded away after LA kept trying to market him as a future star who could be the centerpiece of a huge win-now trade. After all that posturing, the THT era has come to an end.
The Lakers traded Horton-Tucker and former Raptors forward Stanley Johnson to the Utah Jazz in exchange for veteran guard Patrick Beverley. Considering the names that LA was trying to link themselves to over the last few seasons, the fact that Horton-Tucker was eventually traded for Beverley is hilarious.
The Lakers were interested in trading for Kyle Lowry before the Heat ultimately lured him away, but they were reportedly unwilling to include Horton-Tucker in that trade package. As a result, LA overpaid for Russell Westbrook in their quest to find a veteran point guard.
LA went from trying to sell Horton-Tucker as a headliner in a hypothetical Gary Trent Jr. trade to flipping him with another player for an aging guard who has now been traded four times in the last two offseasons. That’s quite a bad job of negotiating from Rob Pelinka and that front office.
The Raptors didn’t trade Gary Trent Jr. for Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker is not a bad player in a vacuum. A 6-4 guard with extremely long arms, THT averaged 9.3 points per game on 43% shooting despite limited opportunities to show his skills on the offensive side of the ball. He should help Utah as a starting wing this season.
While the Lakers add a veteran who has been famously frosty with Westbrook, Toronto can take solace in the fact that Trent is still in town and Precious Achiuwa was acquired in the Lowry swap. Between the both of them, they blow the value Horton-Tucker brings to the table completely out of the water.
Trent is fresh off a year in which he was the third-leading scorer on a team that won 48 games. Achiuwa averaged 12.2 points per game after the All-Star break while playing some tremendous defense. Masai Ujiri would take one of these players over THT, let alone both of them.
Lakers fans trying to trade one average player and one first-round pick for a game-changer is nothing new, but Horton-Tucker was really starting to stretch things. While LA tries to scrape together a competent roster, the Raptors can take solace in the two young studs they acquired by refusing to drink the THT Kool-Aid.