With the NBA’s trade deadline fast approaching on March 25th, Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker has been widely discussed as a potential missing piece for a contending team. At 6-foot-5, Tucker has the size to defend any position on the floor, and especially in spurts.
The 35-year-old forward has the versatility to play the center position when called upon and is shooting 35.9 percent from the left corner, which is where he’s taken 54.2 percent of his corner threes. Tucker’s shooting percentage from that area of the floor is better than how he performed in 2018-19, in which he fared just 33.9 percent.
Although the Houston Rockets forward is having a dismal season of sorts collectively, his value around the league hasn’t been affected, as explained by Sam Amick of The Athletic.
“One source with knowledge of the Rockets’ talks said “70 percent of the league” has been calling about him.”
Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker reportedly drawing interest from 70 percent of the league
The Rockets stand to benefit from the league-wide interest in Tucker, as it’ll allow them to remain firm on their asking price, regardless of whether or not it may seem lofty on the surface. This is exactly what Houston Rockets general manager Rafael Stone has reportedly been doing, according to Amick.
“Rival executives say the Rockets are seeking a young impact player and a first-round pick in return. They’re shooting for the moon, in other words, and will likely have to come back down to earth with the asking price before a deal goes down here.”
The Rockets’ best chance of receiving this reported asking price for Tucker, who is on an expiring deal, is to create the illusion of a widespread market, as such a strategy could cause teams to get in a bidding war. The potential threat of not only losing out on Tucker, but also to seeing a team like the Los Angeles Lakers or Brooklyn Nets get better by adding the unheralded Tucker would seem to compel a contending team to up the ante.
The challenge is that not many teams have the ability to offer both a first-round pick and a young prospect, as such an asking price would eliminate the Nets, Lakers, and the Milwaukee Bucks from the running.
It’ll be interesting to see what the Rockets will get back for Tucker, but it’s clear that the Rockets aren’t going to just give him away, just for the sake of getting rid of him.