Report: Rockets offered contract extension to PJ Tucker, who hasn’t accepted it

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The Houston Rockets have offered a contract extension to PJ Tucker, but the veteran forward has yet to accept it, according to a new story published Monday by Kelly Iko and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

“It’s understood that an extension offer is on the table at this point, but Tucker has not accepted it,” Iko and Amick write. Previous indications were that Tucker wants to stay in Houston, so presumably the point of dispute is in the offer’s financial terms — which remain unknown.

While Tucker is prepared to play the 2020-21 season in Houston without an extension, Iko and Amick say he is not opposed to a trade, if one were to eventually materialize by the March 25 deadline. They report:

Sources say Tucker is prepared to play for Houston for the season even without his future tied down, but he is not opposed to a trade should one materialize. It’s understood that an extension offer is on the table at this point, but Tucker has not accepted it. Teams have already made a number of phone calls to Houston about potentially acquiring Tucker. …

Multiple teams have called about Tucker’s availability in wake of Harden’s departure. As far as an extension in Houston is concerned, sources say Tucker has tabled those discussions for now.

Now 35 years old, Tucker is in the final year of his contract, and he and the team have yet to come to terms on anything new. With James Harden traded, Eric Gordon is the only player who remains on Houston’s roster from when Tucker signed a four-year, $32-million deal in July 2017.

Even without an extension, it made sense to keep Tucker when the Rockets were pushing forward with Harden — a perennial All-Star guard and MVP finalist. But with Houston’s status as a title contender in doubt after the blockbuster Harden trade, the upside of keeping Tucker for the 2020-21 season (without an extension) may not be enough to justify the risk of him leaving for no compensation in 2021 free agency.

Known for versatile defense, toughness, and corner 3-point shooting, Tucker has averaged 6.7 points (37.2% on 3-pointers) and 5.9 rebounds in 32.0 minutes per game over his four Houston seasons. A valued leader and key voice in the locker room, the 6-foot-5 forward hasn’t missed a single game in either the regular season or playoffs for the Rockets.

Dating back to the 2012-13 season, Tucker has played in the most games of any NBA player. As such, even at 35, his market should be robust among both title contenders as well as younger teams (like Minnesota) who are seeking a steadying influence and locker-room presence.

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