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Why P.J. Tucker’s Extension could be Difficult for the Rockets Right Now

A dejected PJ Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
A dejected PJ Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Rockets forward P.J. Tucker has made it known that he wants a contract extension immediately, but there are several obstacles that could prevent this from happening. Will he get his way? Here’s what I think!

P.J. Tucker wants a new contract with the Houston Rockets, and I don’t quite blame him either. He’s fought his entire career to get to where he is now, and he’s still largely underrated and unknown. But there are some obstacles in the way of Tucker getting what he wants.

For starters, Tucker’s current contract, as outlined here by Spotrac, is good through 2021. This means he’s essentially under contract for 2 more seasons, which doesn’t bode well for his chances of getting a new deal now.

The Rockets could certainly do him a solid and extend his contract now, but they don’t technically have to. Not only that, the NBA collective bargaining agreement is much different than the NFL’s, as NFL players are able to hold out until getting a new contract. In the NBA, the only options a player essentially has are to request a trade or threaten to not sign an extension. But Tucker obviously wants an extension and wants to be on the Rockets, so both of those options aren’t really options for him.

The Rockets’ history of signing multi-year extensions also doesn’t necessarily seem to be in Tucker’s favor either, as Houston signed Nene, Clint Capela and Danuel House to multi-year deals recently, but none of those deals were signed with multiple years left. Capela’s new deal was inked in the last year of his contract and House and Nene’s new deals were signed AFTER their contracts expired.

As I mentioned, Tucker is asking for a new deal despite having 2 years left on his current one. If Tucker’s contract had a player option, he would have control of his destiny because he could opt out in favor of a new deal, but his contract doesn’t have one. So he legitimately doesn’t have any leverage or way to control what he wants.

On top of these aforementioned challenges, the Rockets are also in salary cap hell. So much, that they even asked Russell Westbrook to modify his contract so that it’s not as front loaded, so what makes Tucker think his extension will get done now?

Tucker is also already 34 and would be 36 when his extension would kick in. If the contract is for 3 more years, Tucker will be 39 when the contract is up. How do we even know what he’ll have left in the tank when his original contract is up, let alone when an extension kicks in? Especially for a player like Tucker who goes hard every night and leaves it all on the floor.

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Again this is not to say Tucker doesn’t deserve it, as I’ve raved about how much I appreciate what he brings to the Rockets every night. However there are many obstacles in the way of the timing of Tucker’s request. I’d actually be curious to see what happens and if he gets his way.

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