The Houston Rockets 5 biggest needs as the trade deadline approaches

Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets’ need #2: P.J. Tucker replacement

The Rockets need to find a replacement for P.J. Tucker for this season and beyond. Tucker has been the subject of trade rumors and is clearly upset over the lack of a credible contract extension coming his way.

Tucker has been a massive part of some of the most dominant Rockets’ teams in franchise history but it’s clear that he has lost a step. Through 24 games, Tucker is averaging career-lows in points (4.8) and shot attempts per game (4.3).

Whether it is because of the trade rumors, lack of an extension, age, or simply a combination of all three, P.J. Tucker’s influence on the court has dropped considerably this season. His defense still remains stellar but the Rockets need to find his replacement sooner rather than later.

Tucker has thrived over the years as a small-ball stretch power forward, which makes finding his replacement difficult. The number of players that can defend the paint, the perimeter, and knockdown threes is small and most of them are compensated handsomely.

The Rockets can hope that Rodions Kurucs could become a similar type of player but if they want to be competitive this season and beyond they’ll need an upgrade. The beauty in finding Tucker’s replacement is that once he’s in town then the Rockets can pivot towards moving Tucker for assets.

P.J. Tucker’s replacement won’t be cheap but if they’re able to secure him before the deadline then they can recoup some of their investment by shipping out Tucker. It’ll be a sad day if Tucker is traded but with the way he’s played and the franchise’s disinterest in extending him, it has made moving him and finding his replacement something the franchise should do sooner rather than later.

Next: Need #1