A PJ Tucker trade or straight release is almost certain at this point. News broke last night that Tucker was a healthy scratch in the Rocket’s 14th straight loss to the Sacramento Kings. Adrian Wojnarowski, after the game, clarified why Tucker was not in the lineup.
Tucker joins a long line of Rockets players who has requested a trade or release at some point this year. According to Tim Macmahon and Adrian Wojnarowski, Tucker is frustrated that an extension has not been worked out between the two teams. Reports say the Rockets offered a 2 year 17 million dollar extension with 10 million guaranteed. Tucker camp did not like the offer and sent a counteroffer of 2 years 24 million dollars fully guaranteed.
This was probably the last straw between the two sides, and with the Rockets also in the midst of a 14 game losing streak, the two sides have concluded that Tucker will not play again until the Rockets can find a trade partner. Here are three PJ Tucker trades the Rockets can make.
Precious Achiuwa, Avery Bradley for PJ Tucker, and 2021 second-round pick
Why the Miami Heat would do this PJ Tucker trade:
Precious Achiuwa has had a hard time finding consistent minutes in the Heat rotation. Last night was another example of his up and downplaying time this year. Spoelstra benched Achiuwa for the entire second half. The Heat have been up and down all year, and with Jimmy Butler nearing the end of his prime, the Heat may be looking to win now.
Enter P.J. Tucker, who is looking to move on from the Rockets and provides any contender with a still above-average defender and a stretch power forward. Tucker has had a down year so far with the Rockets, but on a contending team, he could still make a difference as a player who can guard positions 1-4.
Why the Rockets would do this trade:
The youth movement is in full swing for the Rockets. This year is barreling close to a lost season after the Rockets lost another game which makes it 14 losses in a row. With very little chance at the playoffs the Rockets are looking toward the future.
Achiuwa is a high-energy, athletic center that would fit perfectly into the Rockets youth movement. At 6’9 with a 7’1.5 wingspan, Achiuwa would be the center the Rockets have been looking for so that Christian Wood can play his more natural position at power forward.
It would be a no-brainer for the Rockets. The team would get a 21-year-old who is already NBA-ready on the defensive end and hopefully will improve enough on offense that he will not be a liability on that end. Achiuwa shot over 32 percent from beyond the arc at Memphis, so there is potential for improvement.
Daniel Theis, and Aaron Nesmith for PJ Tucker and 2021
Why the Celtics would do this PJ Tucker trade:
Which of course will be helpful in a potential matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Tucker would be more willing to sign long-term with the Celtics considering they will be in the championship hunt for several years to come.
Why the Rockets would do this trade
Mention previously Theis is in the last year of his deal but at 28 he could still be a valuable player going forward even with the Rockets going young. A deal would have to be in place before any trade like this happens but Theis would provide some much-needed heft at the center position.
- High-level shooter with superb mechanics.
- Moves well without the ball.
- Strong and solid frame with good length.
- Plays within the flow of the game
Nesmith may have been stuck to the bench in Boston but in Houston, he would have an opportunity to have valuable playing time.
Bol Bol and JaMycal Green for PJ Tucker
Why the Nuggets would do this trade:
The Nuggets are a team that has come close in recent years. Last year they made it all the way to Western Conference Finals before losing to the eventual champions, the Los Angels Lakers. This year they have been hovering around the number 4 or 5 spot in the standings.
Even though the Nuggets have Paul Millsap, a serviceable power forward, they still lack good defenders, especially in the frontcourt. At this point in his career, Millsap is more of an offensive threat than a defensive stopper.
In Tucker, they get that defensive stopper in the frontcourt that they have lacked for several years. At times Tucker can guard certain centers to help free up Nikola Jokic on that end of the court.
Why the Rockets would do this trade
Again for the Rockets, its all about getting younger and a PJ Tucker trade can make this happen. The Rockets in this trade would get Green and Bol back for Tucker. Green in this trade is more of a salary filler and not really part of the Rockets’ long term.
Strengths: Has unusual size and length for an NBA big (7’2”, 7’5″ wingspan, 225 pounds Ability to knock down outside shots at a high rate makes him very unique Moves well and is able to get out and move in transition with solid agility quick for his size and has solid agility.
Bol ability is not in question a seven footer who can shoot from deep and of course score on the inside is exactly what the Rockets need. The only issue is health as Bol struggled in college staying on the court after a stress fracture in his left foot. If Bol can stay healthy he would be the Rockets starting center for years to come.
A PJ Tucker trade is coming sooner rather than later. With a shortlist of contenders who would be willing to trade for Tucker, the Rockets will have to do their homework on any young player with “potential” they bring in as the team goes full speed ahead into the youth movement.
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