Up until now, PJ Tucker hasn’t expressed his feelings on the Russell Westbrook trade yet, which sent away his long-time friend Chris Paul. Here’s how people are spinning his quote to mean something other than what he actually said.
We’re in the dog days of the NBA off-season, so there isn’t much to talk about. This is exactly why PJ Tucker’s recent comments with Ben Golliver of the Washington Post about Houston’s big trade are being taken out of context. Tucker was asked about his thoughts on the Rockets trade for Russell Westbrook and whether him and Harden will be able to play together.
“[Westbrook] is another super aggressive guy who can attack the rim and score the ball. That opens everything up for everyone else. [Harden and Westbrook] know each other’s games. They’ve played together when they were young and they’re excited to play together again. If they’re excited, I’m excited.”
The last sentence is what is being misconstrued as proof that Tucker is really not that thrilled about the Rockets having Westbrook. Granted if you are only focusing on the last sentence, it doesn’t necessarily sound like an endorsement but you have to examine the totality of the statement. His comments regarding The Brodie’s ability to attack and score while opening up for others is what should be discussed. It also sheds light on how Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets will likely use Westbrook, which is what everyone has been asking regarding the fit in Houston.
You can’t just focus on one part of the quote and not the entirety of the statement. We have to remember exactly what question he was responding to, which is whether Westbrook and Harden will be able to play together. He was never asked if he was happy or excited about the trade.
If anything, his other comments said more about how he really feels, as he said the Rockets were “a hamstring away from a championship” which nearly everyone would agree with. This was obviously regarding the 2017-18 season in which the Rockets lost Chris Paul in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors and eventually fell to the Warriors in 7 games. That season represented the Rockets best chance of knocking off the Warriors during the 2 years of having Chris Paul as they Rockets never found a replacement for Trevor Ariza, whose elite defense really benefitted the Rockets.
Tucker also was very transparent and direct about his feelings on the Rockets’ run with CP3. He had the below to say, according to Ben Golliver.
“You can rate it how you want and say what you want, but it was a great run. We won a franchise-record [65 games]. The trade is something that’s over my pay grade. I just play.”
This in my opinion is the best indictment on how he really feels, as Chris Paul is a close friend of his and played a large part in him joining the Rockets. Of course he’s going to miss playing alongside his good friend, but that doesn’t mean he’s unhappy about the Rockets having Westbrook.
If anything, it should be viewed as his feelings on the nature of the business side of the NBA and how cold it can be at times. Players can get traded at a moment’s notice, and Tucker can relate as he’s also been traded before when he was sent from the Phoenix Suns to the Toronto Raptors mid-season in 2017. Tucker is 34 and is entering his 9th year in the league, so he’s surely seen it all when it comes to the business side of the NBA.
There’s obviously an emotional element he’s facing of losing his good friend CP3, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t happy to have Russell Westbrook on the roster. It’s very common for people to misinterpret someone’s words and statements and imply them to mean things they do not mean, which is exactly what we would be doing if we were to imply one sentence to mean Tucker is unhappy with the Rockets trading for Westbrook. Even if Tucker wasn’t happy with the Rockets trade, he still didn’t say that.