P.J. Tucker Trade Rumors: Heat Viewed as Favorite to Land Rockets PF

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) dribbles against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)
Troy Taormina/Associated Press

The Miami Heat are reportedly the favorites to land Houston Rockets veteran forward P.J. Tucker in a trade, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com. 

Last week, Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported that Tucker would no longer be with the Rockets as the team sought a trade. Per that report, "Tucker has grown increasingly frustrated that he has yet to be moved to a contender and made it clear that he'd prefer to sit out games until the front office finds a deal for him ahead of the March 25 trade deadline."

"We're going to try to figure out something that works for him and works for us as far as him not being on the team anymore," Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said March 11 after a 125-105 loss to the Sacramento Kings. "I was under the assumption that he was going to be playing tonight, and he didn't play. That was disappointing, but there's no secret that it's been a rough year."

Woj and MacMahon noted that the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Heat and Brooklyn Nets were among the teams that had expressed interest in Tucker but that Houston's "preference for a young, productive rotation player in trade talks has been a sticking point with teams, which haven't been willing to part with that kind of an asset for a 35-year-old on an expiring contract."

Harrison Faigen @hmfaigen

Notable thing on The Jump: Lowe said he thinks that Tucker will definitely be a trade and not a buyout because of how many teams are in talks for him. That's not surprising, but still worth pointing out.

But Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Monday that the Nets reportedly are "no longer believed to be involved in the Tucker market," likely due to the signing of veteran forward Blake Griffin.

Tucker would make a lot of sense for the Heat, offering them much-needed frontcourt depth behind Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk. The Heat have fantastic depth at guard and on the wing, but the roster thins in the frontcourt. 

Tucker's postseason experience, ability to guard five positions and experience playing small ball from his time with James Harden in Houston would make him a logical fit in Miami. While it's fair to question if Tucker is no longer the same player as he was during Houston's recent peak, it's also been clear he's wanted to move all season and a change of scenery may do him good.