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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

P.J. Tucker Trade Rumors: Rockets PF ‘Frustrated’ He Hasn’t Moved to Contender

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Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker (17) reacts after a play during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, in Houston. (Troy Taormina/Pool Photo via AP)

Troy Taormina/Associated Press

P.J. Tucker‘s time with the Houston Rockets is coming to an end. 

Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the forward was a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game against the Sacramento Kings and has grown “frustrated” that he has not yet been traded to a team that can compete for a title. 

“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,” head coach Stephen Silas said after the 125-105 loss, per MacMahon. “I was under the assumption that he was going to play tonight and he didn’t play. That was disappointing.”

Tim MacMahon @espn_macmahon

Stephen Silas on how decision was made for P.J. Tucker to sit out vs. Kings: “He decided that he was just not really with it, and we decided that that’s a good idea. Let’s move on.” https://t.co/MRnUmr4Bhp

Frankly, a trade makes sense.

Tucker is on an expiring contract, and his frustration seems to indicate he won’t be returning to the Rockets next season. Moving him prior to the deadline will allow a Houston team that has fallen out of contention in the Western Conference to get something in return for him before he potentially leaves anyway.

He may not be the only one on the move, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on Thursday that Victor Oladipo is “absolutely available” and perhaps even for “cheap.”

Tucker, who is averaging 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, is less of a game-changer than Oladipo, but he is a playoff-tested veteran who could fill an important secondary role for a contender.

He is a physical defensive presence who can guard multiple positions while battling for boards. He is also someone who can extend his game beyond the three-point line and pose as a matchup problem for opposing bigs when he is anchoring the frontcourt in small-ball lineups.

That is what Tucker did on previous Rockets teams alongside James Harden and Chris Paul, and he surely hopes to do the same for a contender this season.

Houston has to trade him first.

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