Former Iowa State guard Talen Horton-Tucker already has an NBA Championship ring. This offseason, it’s possible he could have NBA teams chasing him.
Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney reported on Monday night that Horton-Tucker could have several NBA teams in pursuit of him should he hit the open market via free agency.
This story comes on the heels of Horton-Tucker’s best game in the NBA to this point, an 17-point outburst against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 10. He also had five rebounds, three assists and four steals. That prompted Lakers forward LeBron Jones to tell reporters after the game that “He’s a sponge. Whatever you say to him, he’s going to apply it. He’s going to accept it first, then he’s going to apply it right away.”
Should the Lakers decide not to keep Horton-Tucker, however, his recent play is drawing interest from other NBA teams. Wrote Deveney:
League sources told Heavy.com Horton-Tucker can expect “multiple teams” to have an interest in pursuing him this summer. That would put pressure on the Lakers to match some offers that could, potentially, be very hefty. The Knicks, Cavaliers and Mavericks were listed as teams with potential interest.
Horton-Tucker appears to be carving out a bigger role for himself with the defending champions. But, according to Deveney, he may or may not hit free agency.
The Lakers signed Horton-Tucker to a two-year, fully-guaranteed contract when he came to Los Angeles via a draft-night trade with Orlando in 2019. Because the contract was fully guaranteed, and because the Lakers were, at that time, over the salary cap, they’re not allowed to offer Horton-Tucker a contract extension right now. But, they could make him a qualifying offer this summer to make him a restricted free agent, which would give the Lakers the opportunity to match any offer from another team. The Lakers can also offer Horton-Tucker more money, if they get into a bidding war.
The former Cyclone, who spent most of last season in the G-League before joining the Lakers in the ‘Orlando Bubble’ for their run to the NBA Championship, where he played in just two playoff games. Ten games into this season Horton-Tucker is averaging 8.7 points per game.
Horton-Tucker spent just one season in Ames before heading for the NBA. He averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game in helping the Cyclones to the 2019 Big 12 Tournament championship.
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