Talen Horton-Tucker is expected to receive interest from “multiple teams” in free agency with the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks specifically mentioned.
The Lakers can give Horton-Tucker a contract starting around $10.5 million while rival teams will be limited by the mid-level exception starting at approximately $9 million. A quirk in the cap, however, can allow for a third-year balloon payment worth as much as the maximum salary with a raise in the fourth. A rival team could pay Horton-Tucker $9 million in the first year, $10 million in the second year then jump to more than $32 million in the third year and $32 million in the fourth. The Lakers could match the deal.
“The way the rules are, I don’t see the Lakers letting him go,” one general manager told Heavy.com. “But teams can make this a more difficult decision for the Lakers than they’d like. Teams that have a lot of cap space and are looking to gamble on a young guy, why not put your money into him? The upside is obvious.”