One of the side-effects of building a championship-level team in the NBA is that your 29 rivals will try to poach talent from your team. For the Los Angeles Lakers, that even includes sophomore guard Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker has been turning heads this season with more opportunity handed to him to make a mark in the Lakers’ rotation. Since being drafted in the second round last year, the 20-year-old has shown glimpses of his talent and excited his fellow teammates and the coaching staff.
Teams around the league seem to be taking notice as well. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, there is expected to be significant interest in the Iowa State product this summer when he hits restricted free agency.
Because THT has only been in the league for two years before hitting restricted free agency, rival teams are limited in what they can offer him in a new contract. The Arenas Provision in the CBA provides that his starting salary in year one of a new deal offered by any team other than the Lakers is the same as the non-taxpayer mid-level exception which should be approximately $10 million. Now, that may seem like a lot of money for a still unproven player but it’s possible that a team in the NBA has high enough hopes for him to overpay and pry him from the Lakers’ hands.
Of course, as a restricted free agent, the Lakers have the right to match any offer presented to their young guard. With the praise handed to him throughout the season, one would expect that they do just that. But with big salaries handed out to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, long-term ones given to Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Dennis Schröder awaiting an extension before he hits free agency, they could find it difficult to pay for their player.
The Lakers have two days until the NBA trade deadline if they wish to move anyone to either create space or to receive assets before they become free agents.