76ers Rumors: Eric Gordon Trade, P.J. Tucker Signing Linked Ahead of 2022 NBA Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 21, 2022

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 20: P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets, James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Eric Gordon #10 of the Houston Rockets celebrate their win over Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 20, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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A couple of former Houston Rockets may soon reunite on the Philadelphia 76ers.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported on Tuesday's NBA Today that the Sixers are interested in trading for Rockets guard Eric Gordon and are "in the mix" for forward P.J. Tucker, who will reportedly decline his player option to become a free agent.

Both played with Sixers point guard James Harden on the Rockets, and Philly president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was also with Houston at that time.

After another disappointing second-round exit, the Sixers entered the offseason with major needs.

While they have plenty of skilled scorers, they lacked athleticism, namely on the wings, and didn't have many defensive stoppers outside MVP runner-up Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle, who became difficult to play in the postseason because of his major struggles on offense.

The team also lacked depth, with the top options off the bench in the postseason being Thybulle, Georges Niang, Shake Milton and Paul Reed. That foursome averaged a combined 16.8 points per game in the playoffs.

And since Danny Green tore his ACL, that depth will be further stretched. The Sixers are likely to use his non-guaranteed $10 million contract as salary filler in a trade—such as one for Gordon—or release him outright.

While Gordon wouldn't improve the team's athleticism and defensive deficiencies, he would address the lack of bench scoring in a major way. The 33-year-old averaged 13.4 points and 2.7 assists per game last season in 57 games, and while injuries have been a concern in his career, he would also bring familiarity playing alongside Harden.

Tucker, on the other hand, would help on the defensive end. The 37-year-old played in 71 games for the Miami Heat last season, averaging 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 41.5 percent from three-point range. He was a big part of the team's run to the Eastern Conference Finals, playing 28.3 minutes per game in the postseason.

Philadelphia may be interested in bringing him off the bench as the backup 4, meaning Niang would likely be dangled in trade talks or that starting power forward Tobias Harris would be put on the trade block.

Harris proved to be an imperfect fit with the Harden and Embiid pick-and-roll since his scoring has traditionally come in the mid-range off the dribble, and the ascension of guard Tyrese Maxey often left Harris as the team's fourth offensive option.

It wouldn't be shocking if the Sixers traded Harris for pieces who fit next to Embiid and Harden, in other words, opening up the 4 for a player such as Tucker.