Some Warriors fans have been eagerly awaiting the implosion of the Houston Rockets this season.
The Rockets finally reached a tipping point on Wednesday, when it shipped superstar James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets what turned into a four-way deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers. Expect other dominoes to fall in Houston, as the Rockets are 3-6 and near the bottom of the Western Conference, and owner Tilman Fertitta reportedly wants to cut payroll.
Veteran forward P.J. Tucker has long been viewed as a logical option for the Warriors to target with their $9.3 million disabled player exception, made available by Klay Thompson’s injury. But it appears Tucker has drawn interest from multiple teams throughout the league, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reported Wednesday, citing sources.
Multiple teams have inquired about P.J. Tucker’s availability and have expressed interest in acquiring the veteran forward, sources tell @TheAthletic.
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) January 13, 2021
Tucker is only signed through this season, so he likely would be a short-term rental. But the Warriors could make plenty of sense as a trade partner. Fertitta would receive some nice salary cap savings and perhaps a protected pick from the Warriors, as the franchise bottoms out for the stacked 2021 and 2022 draft classes.
Tucker fills a variety of needs for the Warriors, beginning with frontcourt depth. Eric Paschall has performed well since Marquese Chriss’ injury, but Tucker would give the Warriors a physical forward who can stretch the floor with his 3-point skills. He’d also provide a valuable veteran presence alongside Draymond Green and Steph Curry with the ability to defend multiple positions.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Tucker is posting modest averages of 5.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. But he’s shooting 52 percent (13-of-25) from beyond the arc this year, with the majority of his 3-point makes coming on shot attempts from the corner. Just imagine the good shots the Warriors could get with Curry running around the perimeter and Tucker waiting to knock down an open look.
The Warriors have played 11 of their 72 games and started to click during their recent seven-game homestand. But the push for the playoffs will arrive quickly during this compacted season, so Golden State should try to strike a deal with Houston while the iron is hot.