Rockets: 4 trades to send P.J. Tucker to the Jazz

PJ Tucker of the Houston Rockets defends Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
PJ Tucker of the Houston Rockets defends Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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Georges Niang #31 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Georges Niang #31 of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

2. Houston Rockets receive haul of young prospects

In this trade package, the Rockets would receive four prospects and potential building blocks for the future in Georges Niang (27-years-old), Miye Oni (23-years-old), Juwan Morgan (23-years-old), and rookie Udoka Azubuike (21-years-old). Acquiring these four would assist the Rockets in their rebuild, which they must consider, as the team is 11-23 and second to last in the Western Conference.

For the Jazz, they’d land a player in Tucker that could put them over the top and would fit into their offensive philosophy well. In addition, Tucker’s defense would be a nice boost to a Jazz team that already has a good defense, as they rank fourth in defensive rating.

Tucker’s ability to play center would also allow the Jazz to go with a small ball lineup when needed, which they currently don’t have the ability to do, without compromising their defense. Tucker presents a switchable defender that would certainly come in handy during the postseason.

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As for why Utah would give away their young talent, they’re in win-now mode and likely realize they may have their best opportunity at a title this season, especially based on their 27-9 start. Of the four players they would be giving up in this trade, none of them are getting extensive playing time, as outlined below:

  • Georges Niang-13.4 minutes per game
  • Miye Oni-7.9 minutes per game
  • Juwan Morgan-4.7 minutes per game
  • Udoka Azubuike- 4.1 minutes per game

In this deal, the Rockets would be getting back several capable knockdown shooters, as Niang has made 38.3 percent of his threes this season, while Oni has made 39.4 percent of his threes (albeit on just 1.3 attempts). In Morgan, the Rockets would be getting back a 6-foot-7 forward who has the ability to be a solid defender, and Oni presents a potentially elite defender, as he drew a heap of praise from Jazz star guard Donovan Mitchell during the preseason.

“He’s been doing it in practice—he’s been guarding me a bunch, making my life hell,” Mitchell said with a laugh. “So we’re really happy for him.

His being able to stay in front, stay locked in. He did that at Yale — [but] it wasn’t really going to happen quickly for him [here]; it’s tough to come in this league as a defender. Being able to do it at the level he has done so far in the preseason has been great.”

Oni explained what’s led to his stellar defense and how he remains focused on that end of the floor.

“I just react better — just knowing personnel more, not biting on fakes, things like that. I just keep focusing on that, staying solid on defense, and I know I can help the team that way.”

With the Rockets getting back a quartet of young talent, in exchange for Tucker, who could be the missing piece for Utah, this could be a win-win for both teams.

Next: No. 1

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