Celtics Among ‘Favorites’ to Land Disgruntled Rockets Starter

Celtics listed among favorites for PJ Tucker

Getty Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder Robert Covington #33 and P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets eye the basket during the third quarter in Game Three of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs.

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker has grown “increasingly frustrated” that he has yet to be traded, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon. The good news for the 35-year-old small-ball standout, CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn believes the Boston Celtics may be able to change that.

ALL the latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Celtics!

Celtics Listed Among Favorites to Acquire P.J. Tucker

Listing the Cs among the likely favorites to acquire the Texas alumn, Quinn details that while Tucker may not be the sexiest TPE candidate the dots do aligns for such a move, adding that his veteran presence could prove invaluable for a young Celtics roster.

“Like Denver, Boston can absorb Tucker without sending a cent back to Houston. Their trade exception is considerably larger, $28.5 million thanks to Gordon Hayward, but that’s a double-edged sword here,” Quinn noted. “Is Boston going to settle for an older role player with that exception? Probably not. They can carry it into the offseason if necessary, so their ambitions are likely greater than Tucker.”

“Still, they can match salary with Tristan Thompson or even some of their younger players, and have all of their own draft picks to dangle,” he wrote. “If the Celtics want Tucker, they have a number of different paths to getting him, and they’ve tinkered with small-ball units in the past. The Celtics are as young as the Nuggets and may take a similarly long view on their roster construction, but with such a surplus of mediocre youth, they can afford to spend a bit on a veteran like Tucker.”

Rockets to Move on From Tucker

We recently detailed how Tucker’s asking price was dropping in the eyes of numerous NBA execs — well it may have just plummeted.

Following the Houston Rockets‘ 14th straight loss to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night, head coach Stephen Silas essentially put an end to Tucker’s tenure in H-Town, telling reporters: “We’re going to try to figure out something that works for him and works for us as far as him not being on the team anymore.”

According to Silas’ postgame comments, at some point during the game there was a mutual agreement between Tucker, his agent, and the Rockets organization that “P.J. will not be with the team anymore.” Silas stated, “he was not really with it and we decided that that’s a good idea; let’s move on.”

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle has reported that the Rockets are seeking a young player in exchange for Tucker, as opposed to just draft picks. With that said, Houston’s bullish asking price has landed them in this situation. As a Western Conference official put it to  Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Rockets are “off their asking price.” Wojnarowski and MacMahon essentially backed this notion claiming that teams “haven’t been willing to part with that kind of an asset for a 35-year-old on an expiring contract.”

Tucker is in the final year of a four-year, $32 million deal. The highly-regarded 3-and-D specialist has been a solid contributor as a role player for much of his three-plus years in Houston, averaging 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.


For more Celtics content, follow @VinnySomma on Twitter.