PJ Tucker Rumors: Rockets Trade Near; Eyed by Lakers, Nets, Bucks, Heat, Nuggets

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2021

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Multiple teams have reportedly expressed interest in Houston Rockets veteran forward P.J. Tucker ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers all have interest in Tucker.

Charania noted that the teams "have sensed a deal could develop sooner rather than later" for Tucker. As of now, the Rockets want a young player in return.

The 35-year-old Tucker is in his 10th NBA season and his fourth as a member of the Rockets.

He has been a key player for the Rockets over the past few years, starting all 32 games he has appeared in this season after starting 72 games last season and 82 games in 2018-19. He is also averaging 30 minutes per game this season, marking the third consecutive year he has averaged at least 30 minutes.

Despite his playing time, Tucker's numbers don't leap off the page. He is averaging 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game this season while shooting just 36.6 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Tucker has never been a huge stats guy, though, with averages of 7.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 686 career regular-season games.

His value is more about intangibles, as he is tough, defensively responsible, experienced and versatile.

Despite being only 6'5", Tucker has often played power forward and even some center for the Rockets in recent years because of their lack of length in the frontcourt. Although it isn't an ideal scenario, Tucker has handled some tough assignments.

All of those qualities make him an ideal target for a contending team in need of some depth and a reliable defensive player off the bench. The Nets, Bucks, Heat, Nuggets and Lakers all have championship aspirations, and any of them could be a good landing spot for Tucker.

The Lakers and Heat played in the NBA Finals last season, the Nuggets reached the Western Conference Finals, and the Bucks had the NBA's best record. Meanwhile, the Nets have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference this season thanks to the Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving.

Tucker has four years of experience as Harden's teammate in Houston, so perhaps Harden will vouch for him and make Brooklyn the favorite to land the tenacious veteran.

Any of the aforementioned teams would benefit from Tucker's presence, though, and all of them would present him with a better opportunity to win than a Rockets team that is 14th in the Western Conference at 11-23.