1. Houston Rockets receive Royce O’Neale
When reports first surfaced that the Jazz had interest in Tucker, many began to question how the Jazz would be able to compile a package to send the Rockets. The easiest way to make the salaries work would be to swap Tucker for Royce O’Neale, as his $8.5 million essentially washes out Tucker’s $7.96 million.
Granted, moving O’Neale would be an unpopular move, and especially among Jazz fans, as he’s one of Utah’s best players. But if there was a reason to make this move, it’s because O’Neale and Tucker have essentially been viewed as equals, and especially over the last several years.
Both players aren’t going to light up the scoreboard, but can still contribute in other ways, most notably 3-point shooting and defense.
Speaking of the latter, O’Neale isn’t nearly the defender that Tucker is, which the Jazz will need during this title run, as they will have to get past the likes of Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James, before likely facing Kevin Durant, should they reach the NBA Finals.
Tucker could be the perimeter defender that Utah needs, as he’s arguably the most versatile defender in the league, with the ability to defend each position on the court.
While O’Neale is a better 3-point shooter, the Jazz create an abundance of open corner threes, which Tucker is arguably the best in the league at converting, so the drop off there wouldn’t be as steep in that category.
For Utah, they would get back essentially a better version of O’Neale, and Tucker’s contract situation should also be appealing. O’Neale is owed $27.5 million over the next three years, and with Tucker’s contract set to expire at the end of this season, they could likely get him for less years and less guaranteed money.
Not to mention getting draft capital in return for a player they’d have a replacement for. From the Houston Rockets’ perspective, they’d get a 27-year-old forward who is shooting 41.1 percent from three, who is also under contract through 2024.