P.J. Tucker’s contract ends after next season with the Houston Rockets, so should the team extend him beyond that time frame?
About three years ago, the Houston Rockets signed P.J. Tucker in free agency after a tenure with the Raptors. After three seasons, 35-year-old Tucker is due $7.9 million next year, which is his last of his current contract. GM Daryl Morey will have a tough decision on his hands because of the team’s financial position combined with the fact that Tucker is beloved and still effective for Houston.
Tucker has made it clear that he wants to retire a Rocket in the past.
Pj Tucker on why he wants to finish his career in Houston: "Houston's a blue collar city. I feel like there's a lot of hard-working Houston fans…. It's easy to work hard for a city that really appreciates you."
Talks about random run-ins he has with fans at the grocery store.
— Salman Ali (@SalmanAliNBA) July 15, 2020
“I’ve said it many times. I want to retire as a Houston Rocket, so, fingers crossed, I hope we can strike a deal and get it done,” he once said in a Sports Illustrated interview.
Tucker is also looking to open his new shoe store in Houston by October of 2020. The store is for sneakerheads inside of Houston like Tucker, who’s become known as the sneaker king of the NBA.
“The shoe culture in Houston is cool,” Tucker told ESPN’s Nick DePaula. “There’s a lot of sneakerheads and a lot of people that love shoes here — a lot more than I thought. I just think there should be more activity.”
Another thing Tucker did was donate $20,000 to the Houston Food Bank from his online retail store “The Better Generation” during the COVID-19 shutdown in Houston.
Besides Tucker being loved in Houston, he’s been a great defensive player for the Rockets. Tucker has been the best primary defender for the Rockets since Trevor Ariza left in 2018. With Tucker weighing at 225 lbs, he can guard any position with his size and strength, despite his height at 6-5.
Tucker has also become the team’s best communicator on defense as well.
How long can Tucker remain effective for the Rockets?
Tucker has been an iron man for the Rockets, averaging 32 minutes per game in the last three regular seasons while never missing a game, including the playoffs.
Besides Tucker’s defense, he became a reliable 3-point shooter in the corner for the Rockets. Last season, Tucker led the NBA in corner threes with 90 made. Tucker shot 43.2 percent in the previous three postseasons with the Rockets.
Rocket fans love Tucker’s hard work, commitment, toughness, and genuine presence in Houston. He also gives the team a tenacious edge over some other teams. If Tucker can strike a two-year deal with the team, it’s well deserved. Tucker could provide an excellent veteran presence if the Rockets try to rebuild.
Hopefully, the next Rockets head coach and Morey take a long look at Tucker’s resume and think of something fair for both sides.