James Harden wasn’t the only disgruntled Rocket.
The Athletic recently reported that P.J. Tucker was “irate” with the $8 million he is making in the final season of his contract. Now, with Harden traded to the Nets, it is possible that Tucker could be the next one out of Houston.
The site reported on Wednesday that several teams have inquired about the veteran forward’s availability and are interested in acquiring him. The 35-year-old is a traditional 3-and-D forward who was the emotional glue of a Rockets team that consistently competed for an NBA title in recent years.
The Rockets’ desire to trade Tucker could be based on how they view the rest of this season. With Harden gone and now loaded with draft picks, do they go for a full rebuild? Or, do they try and build a playoff contender around the core of John Wall, Christian Wood and Victor Oladipo, whom they acquired from the Pacers as part of the Harden trade?
If the Rockets try to contend now, they could try and flip some of the four first-round draft picks they acquired Wednesday to bring in more talent.
“It’s not even just the contract extension,” Tucker told reporters before the season when asked about his place with the Rockets.
“That’s not the total goal. The goal is to be in a place where you’re wanted, where you want to be, who wants you. That’s something that every player wants. Nobody wants to be somewhere [that] they don’t want him. There’s certain ways to show that, and it’s not just contract extensions.”
Tucker, a high-level defender, is averaging 5.6 points and 4.4. rebounds per game this season, while shooting 52 percent on 3-pointers. He is a career 36-percent shooter from behind the arc.