Report: Nuggets, Jazz, Nets have asked Rockets about PJ Tucker trade

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Ben DuBose
·2 min read
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With defensive ace PJ Tucker months from free agency and still without a contract extension, it’s only natural for the Houston Rockets to consider trading him before this season’s March 25 trade deadline, rather than risk him leaving for no compensation in the offseason.

To that end, the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, and Brooklyn Nets are among numerous teams who have “sniffed around” regarding Tucker’s potential availability, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had previously listed the Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat as among Tucker’s suitors, which includes a long list of contenders. Brooklyn, led by James Harden — who happens to be Tucker’s former teammate and close friend — is the one team specifically identified by both Woj and Iko.

According to Woj, the Rockets are hoping to trade Tucker for a player they can immediately plug into this season’s rotation, rather than a package headlined by future draft considerations.

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Now 35 years old, Tucker is averaging 4.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 29.9 minutes per game this season. Across the board, his numbers are the lowest of his four years with the Rockets. However, as his teammates and coaches recently explained, his value is tough to capture in basic statistics. For starters, Tucker is a clear veteran leader in the locker room, as shown by the testimonials of those consistently around him.

Moreover, there are additional benefits from Tucker’s extreme durability and toughness. Dating to 2012-13, the 6-foot-5 forward has played in the most games of any NBA player on any team. Those are among the many reasons why Houston general manager Rafael Stone likely has a high asking price for Tucker, even at 35 and in a contract year.

The Rockets (11-20) entered Sunday on a 10-game losing streak, which is their longest as a franchise in over 20 years. Barring a major turnaround, Houston’s status as a clear non-contender in the 2020-21 season would seem to boost the odds of a Tucker trade eventually getting done.

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