The Houston Rockets have spent the last several years as one of the top teams in the Western Conference, but things have quickly changed. Ever since James Harden got traded, the team has been on a downward spiral. They are the 14th seed in the Western Conference with an 11-24 record and things just seem to be getting worse.
The team has already moved on from DeMarcus Cousins and it appears more moves are on the way. P.J. Tucker is the next player likely on his way out. He’s been involved in trade rumors for weeks now and things are starting to ramp up. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon, Tucker is not planning on playing another game in a Rockets uniform.
“Tucker has grown increasingly frustrated that he has yet to be moved to a contender and made it clear that he’d prefer to sit out games until the front office finds a deal for him ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski and MacMahon reported.
The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to Tucker and it appears they still have an interest.
“The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets are among teams that have discussed possible deals with the Rockets in recent weeks, sources said,” Wojnarowski and MacMahon wrote.
Whether or not he ends up getting traded, Tucker should be on a new team in the near future.
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Will Lakers Land Tucker?
It’s no secret that the Lakers are in the market for a big. Tucker may only be 6-foot-5, but he plays a lot bigger than his size would indicate. He’s incredibly strong and stocky. He wouldn’t make much of an impact on offense but would be an asset on defense.
If the Lakers hope to trade for Tucker, they’ll likely have to send Montrezl Harrell or a young player like Talen Horton-Tucker. Considering the Rockets forward is 35-years-old and only averages 4.4 points a game this season, it doesn’t sound worth it to trade for him.
Lakers Don’t Need Tucker
If Tucker gets bought out, the Lakers should take a serious look at him. He’d be a good piece to have when Los Angeles is playing smaller teams like the Brooklyn Nets. However, there are probably better options out there.
Tucker really only brings defense. The Lakers already have the best defensive rating in the NBA at 106.1. They have an elite defensive team and they’ve stayed elite even with Anthony Davis out, who is their best player on defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Lakers have struggled to shoot threes. They are shooting 35.1% from beyond the arc, which is 25th in the NBA. Tucker is a career 35.9% shooter from three so he’s not fixing that issue. He’s a solid player and certainly wouldn’t hurt the Lakers. That said, there should be better options available to the team when the buyout market starts filling up.