P.J. Tucker is a proven veteran who can defend, hit corner threes, and has stepped up in the postseason — which is why playoff-bound teams are interested in him.
Tucker is high on the list of players likely to be traded at the deadline and contenders are lining up, Shams Charania reported at The Athletic.
The Nets, Bucks, Heat, Nuggets and Lakers are expressing interest in Tucker, sources said. Multiple teams have sensed a deal could develop sooner rather than later for Tucker, but the timing is likely dependent on the Rockets’ asking price. As of now, Houston has sought a young player back in a trade, sources said.
It makes sense that teams at the top of the food chain — especially ones who need depth and help at the four, such as the Heat and Bucks — would have serious interest in a Tucker trade.
However, teams need to be cautious. Tucker, 35, has struggled this season and is averaging 4.4 points a game and shooting 31.4% from three. Teams tend to think Tucker’s struggles are more situation than age and believe if Tucker were in their locker room and system he would look more like his vintage self.
Wanting Tucker doesn’t make putting a deal together likely or easy. For example, both the Lakers and Bucks are hard-capped and close to that ceiling, meaning they need to send out more salary than they are getting back (Tucker makes $7.9 million this season). The Lakers could make the numbers work with a trade like Talen Horten-Tucker and Montrezl Harrell for Tucker and Shannon Brown, but that deal doesn’t make the Lakers better and is highly unlikely. Los Angeles could try to throw Kyle Kuzma in a trade, but again does that make them much better? The Lakers are a long shot in this.
Houston wanting a player and not a pick has been the reporting for a while. Oklahoma City has swap rights on Houston’s first-round pick in the upcoming draft (OKC can select the most favorable of Houston, Miami, or their pick this draft).