Numerous NBA contenders, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets, are interested in trading for Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Saturday's edition of NBA Countdown.
Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll transcribed Woj's comments:
"The Lakers have been active. I know they’ve made calls about some wing players to see if there is some shooting available out there. Another player they’re interested in: P.J. Tucker, from the Houston Rockets. There’s a lot of interest among contenders in Tucker, who’s in the last year of his deal. The Miami Heat, who the Lakers play tonight, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, several others. One thing I’m told is that Houston wants back not picks, but a player that they can plug back into their lineup."
The Rockets' season is on the brink after a seven-game losing streak has dropped them to 11-17 overall and 13th in the Western Conference.
A massive front office, coaching and roster upheaval over the span of a few months hasn't helped matters as the new group looks to build chemistry following a truncated offseason, but Houston looks like a play-in tournament team at best at this juncture.
Houston has already reportedly notified big man DeMarcus Cousins that he will be released in the coming days as the Rockets look to get smaller and younger in the frontcourt, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
Moving Tucker would align with that philosophy. Although Tucker has found success as a small-ball 5 on the Rockets, the 35-year-old veteran is likely best served playing out this season on a contending team as Houston looks to continue its rebuild in the post-James Harden era.
Tucker has struggled offensively this year (4.7 points per game on 37.5 percent shooting), but he was a key cog in the Rockets' playoff teams over the past three seasons, shooting 36.9 percent from three-point range, offering defensive versatility at forward and center and grabbing 6.0 rebounds per game.
He may not be called upon to start and play 30-plus minutes, but Tucker could be a good piece off the bench for any NBA title contender looking to strengthen its second unit.