The Los Angeles Lakers started working on their long list of potential roster moves this week by extending a qualifying offer to their second-year guard, Talen Horton-Tucker this week according to ESPN.
ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks explains that the offer for Horton-Tucker stands now at close to $1.9 million which makes him a restricted free agent. The offer now gives the Lakers the option to match any offer to retain the former 2019 second-round pick. Had the Lakers failed to extend an offer to THT, he would’ve become an unrestricted free agent and be eligible to accept an offer from any NBA team.
The Qualifying Offer for Talen Horton-Tucker is $1,897,476.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 22, 2021
The Lakers have early bird rights and can sign him up to a contract that projects to start at $10.4M.
The contract must be for a minimum of 2 seasons.
Talen Horton-Tucker averaged 9.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 65 games last season (four starts).
THT spent the majority of his rookie season in the G-League before earning some playing time in the bubble during the Lakers title run last year. He built on that momentum with a strong preseason that got him time in the rotation as a backup ball-handler.
At 6’4″ with a 7’1″ wingspan, Horton-Tucker’s ability to attack the made him one of the few bench players who could get his own shot without the constant assistance of LeBron James.
However, the qualifying offer could be a setup to a much larger deal to being in a superstar via trade. Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated linked Horton-Tucker to a potential trade with Russell Westbrook.
There have also been talks about Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook being a potential candidate to move back home to Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade deal that could include free agent point guard Dennis Schroder, forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Talen Horton-Tucker, sources said.
The Lakers do have the option to rescind the offer (although highly unlikely) if they so choose. A few years back, they did so with Julius Randle after they signed LeBron James to his first contract.