Milwaukee Bucks: Should they reignite P.J. Tucker trade interest?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 02: (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 02: (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks were previously linked to Houston Rockets’ swingman P.J. Tucker as a trade target, and that interest could soon surface again.

Although the NBA trade deadline is still far off in the distance, it is never too early to brainstorm potential trade targets for the Milwaukee Bucks.

While many players could help improve this roster, one name that stands out the most is P.J. Tucker of the Houston Rockets. Milwaukee reportedly previously had some interest in trading for the forward this past offseason, but nothing ever came of it.

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Now, rumors are swirling that after the Rockets traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, Tucker could be the next one out the door. According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Rockets also have an asking price set for teams inquiring about the forward:

"“Two league sources tell me Tucker’s value around the league is about three second-round picks. The Rockets may hold out for a team to offer a first ahead of the March 25 trade deadline, but Tucker is 35 and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, which hurts his value.”"

If true, Tucker will undoubtedly be a hot commodity on the trade market as the season progresses. Tucker has been at wits’ end with the Rockets for months now regarding his contract situation, which has prompted all of this trade controversy.

This team is collecting assets for the future, and they would likely favor acquiring draft capital rather than hand the 35-year-old forward the lucrative extension he desires. Set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, the team seems content trading him away to bolster their treasure chest of assets. Justifiably so, as they collected four first round picks and the rights to four future picks swaps in the James Harden trade.

Trading for P.J. Tucker would be fantastic for the Milwaukee Bucks, but piecing together any deal is not without its challenges.

Tucker will make approximately $8 million this season, which is relatively affordable for a team deprived of spending money like the Bucks. However, trying to match salaries in such a deal without giving up any of their core is quite challenging. Still, if the team believes that Tucker is someone worth pursuing, the fit makes sense.

Despite losing both Marvin Williams and Ersan Ilyasova this offseason, the Bucks did not bring in a true backup power forward as a replacement. The team did add big man Bobby Portis through free agency to bolster the frontcourt, but he has played 79 percent of his minutes this season at center this season. If the Bucks plan on scouring the market for a backup for Giannis Antetokounmpo, there are very few options better than P.J. Tucker.

Defensively, Tucker is one of the best in the business, as evidenced by his run as Houston’s starting center last season throughout their small-ball trial run. Despite standing at just 6’5″, Tucker has built up a reputation as one of the league’s most tenacious defenders because of his ability to guard any opponent of any size.

Offensively, Tucker is a solid 3-point shooter, having averaged 36.9 percent on 4.5 attempts from deep over the past three seasons in Houston. Taking it a step further, he has been deemed the best corner marksman from deep by a handful of his peers because of his ability to shoot the lights out from either side.

The Bucks are built on an offense that gives its players the green light from downtown, and Tucker would be a snug fit. The forward would provide the team with a reliable threat on the perimeter that could bolster this already league-leading offense in Milwaukee.

While the offense is clicking, the Bucks’ defense has had its share of issues early on, and Tucker could surely resolve some of those issues. The one downside is that he will indeed be a free agent after this offseason, but for a Milwaukee team that is all-in on a championship, he might be worth the gamble.

Next. Bucks starting lineup meshing on both ends. dark

Overall, P.J. Tucker would be a solid option that could help the Milwaukee Bucks on both ends of the floor. He should be high on their list of potential trade targets if they can work out the financial kinks.