With Chris Paul in the fold, and likely keeping Ryan Anderson as the starting power forward, the Houston Rockets were in the market for a backup forward who could defend well, and space the floor as a shooter. Someone who could play a stretch four kind of spot in small-ball lineups calling for defense.
Enter P.J. Tucker.
The free agent forward and the Rockets have reached a deal, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
As Kevin Pelton of ESPN has pointed out, that figure set up a potential sign-and-trade with the Raptors (Tucker’s last team), which would save some of the mid-level exception to try to land Nene (which is its own snafu) or someone else.
Regardless, the Rockets are now hard-capped at $125 million with this deal if they use their mid-level on Tucker. If so, the Rockets have about $20 million remaining and have filled nine roster spots, which leaves some challenges in filling out the roster. If the Rockets trade for Iman Shumpert as is rumored, they would have $9.7 million left for five spots.
Tucker is what the Rockets need, however,. He can defend the three or the four (he’s better against fours but can switch), is physical, and he shot 35.7 percent from three last season. He’s a solid bench player, but at age 32 is a four-year deal too long to ask.