On Friday, Talen Horton-Tucker returned to his old stomping ground for the first time since his offseason trade to the Utah Jazz. It was an opportunity for the 6-foot-4 guard to face off against his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, in what was a revenge game of sorts for him.
To be clear, however, Horton-Tucker does not appear to hold any ill will against his former team or his former teammates. As a matter of fact, the 21-year-old had nothing buy good things to say about his time with the Lakers, including how LeBron James continues to reach out to him even after his Hollywood exit:
“Just being able to be around great players, just coming into the league with an understanding of how to work hard, how to become a star in the NBA,” Horton-Tucker said, via Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. “Being able to be around them guys, I appreciate it. I appreciate (the Lakers), too. Just welcoming me with open arms, even Bron texts me to this day, wishing me luck and stuff like that.”
The Lakers even presented a tribute video for Horton-Tucker on Friday night as the team showed their appreciation to him for the three years he spent in LA:
Your #Lakers THT tribute video: pic.twitter.com/8ojkIDxpsl
— Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand) November 5, 2022
Horton-Tucker, whom the Lakers traded to the Jazz this past summer in exchange for Patrick Beverley, logged 16 minutes on Friday. He posted seven points, three rebounds, an assist, and two steals off the bench as Utah handed LeBron and the Lakers with their sixth loss of the season, 130-116.
The Jazz have been quite the revelation this year. This team is in the midst of a full rebuild, but even though they traded away their two superstars in the offseason, the squad has been surprisingly good to start the new campaign. For his part, THT admitted that this team has been playing with a chip on their shoulder:
“I feel like guys are hungry to prove they’re good,” Horton-Tucker said. “And I feel like we know that we’re good. We got NBA players. So we feel like we can compete with pretty much anybody. So being able to have a team like that, to have an attitude coming into games adds to everything else.”