KEY POINTS

  • The Lakers extended a qualifying offer to Talen Horton-Tucker and are ready to match pitches from other NBA teams
  • Horton-Tucker's contract may potentially be part of a bigger trade move the Lakers may execute this summer
  • The Lakers would need to trade multiple players to land either Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook this offseason

The Los Angeles Lakers have limited options this summer when it comes to new talent. One name that has been frequently mentioned in NBA trade rumors is Talen Horton-Tucker's.

Ironically, the purple and gold have extended a qualifying offer to the 20-year-old, meaning Los Angeles is ready to match any offers coming his way. However, the development could be viewed in a different light assuming the Lakers do initiate a blockbuster trade for much-needed help.

The qualifying offer was announced Thursday, and it will make Horton-Tucker a restricted free agent, NBA.com and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported. The money involved in the deal was not disclosed, but Spotrac suggested that the offer is worth $1.9 million.

But the numbers in the contract hardly matter. Depending on what other teams offer, the Lakers are reportedly bent on matching it. If not that, it could be insurance to make sure that Horton-Tucker is still in their grasp before embarking on trades.

Two big names have been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers in Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Both are set to earn $44 million next season, a figure the purple and gold can afford only with a big trade.

Aside from the 20-year-old Horton-Tucker, the names of Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell could be part of a potential trade. In the case of Schroder and Harrell, it would have to be the sign-and-trade scenario. Kuzma owns a three-year deal worth $39 million with a player option in 2023.

After a disappointing season that saw LeBron James and Anthony Davis struggle due to injuries, the Lakers know that they need backcourt help. Paul is coming off an NBA Finals campaign with the Suns and made it clear that he is not retiring. James could come knocking and try to persuade CP3 to join the Lakers with the Suns unlikely to carry the $44 million paycheck due to the 11-time All-Star next season. Much of this was covered in a previous report.

As for Westbrook, he still has two years left in his current contract. After $44 million this year, he is set to receive $47 million for the 2022-23 NBA season – assuming he exercises the player option clause.

Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Talen Horton-Tucker #5 Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Talen Horton-Tucker #5 Photo: Getty Images | Kevin C. Cox