Milwaukee Bucks: Donte DiVincenzo should stay out of P.J. Tucker trade talks

Aug 2, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 2, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports) /

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to remain in the P.J. Tucker sweepstakes by all accounts.

Dating back to their busy offseason, the Bucks have been consistently linked with the veteran forward and that thread continues to surface as the Houston Rockets have slid into mediocrity, especially after trading away James Harden earlier this season.

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Now per the latest report from ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks have continued to talk with Houston as we inch closer to the March 25 trade deadline and as Tucker has apparently played his last game in a Rockets uniform:

"“The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets are among teams who’ve discussed possible deals with the Rockets in recent weeks, sources said."

And as has been reported on multiple occasions and by various outlets in recent weeks, the Rockets’ reported asking price has been a haggling point in trade discussions:

"“So far, the Rockets preference for a young, productive rotation player in trade talks has been a sticking point with teams, who haven’t willing to part with that kind of an asset for a 35-year-old on an expiring contract, sources said.”"

From a Bucks lens, it’s not hard to get the impression that trade talks between the Bucks and the Rockets would likely get stuck on third-year guard Donte DiVincenzo and for good reason.

Rival league executives had told The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor last month that DiVincenzo was the most valuable asset the Bucks have in their depleted chest and he comes at a cost-controlled price for the next 17 months, though will be eligible for a rookie-scale extension this offseason.

Adding P.J. Tucker isn’t worth the Milwaukee Bucks dealing a valuable piece and asset to their core.

With the Bucks’ roster about to get really expensive, even more so than it is as they’re slated to pay the luxury tax for the first time in 18 years this season, hanging on to such deals like DiVincenzo’s is incredibly critical for the Bucks moving forward.

The fact that DiVincenzo is as productive as he is at this stage in his development only reinforces why he’s worth continue investing in from a Bucks perspective. The Villanova product has stepped into the Bucks’ starting lineup this season and has averaged 10.3 points on .416/.381/.658 shooting, 4.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals across his 37 appearances.

Such growth hasn’t come without some hurdles to overcome as DiVincenzo is still prone to the many ups and downs that come with a young player looking to establish himself in the league. And ultimately, there isn’t a Bucks player that offers that kind of whirling dervish defense that DiVincenzo excels in off the ball especially.

Still, DiVincenzo stands as the lone example of the Bucks having a young and productive player that comes at a cost-effective price (Sorry D.J. Wilson). And with that in mind, that’s the kind of trade package that the Bucks could make for Tucker, considering their hard-cap issues, and the Rockets are certainly holding out hope for.

But if DiVincenzo is truly the sticking point at this point in discussions between the two sides, then so be it. The two or three-month rental that Tucker poses to be for the team whoever ends up taking the plunge for him will do so potentially at the expense of giving up something meaningful they might regret having done so in the future.

And while they have to wait longer than past the deadline to fill their vacant roster spot, the Bucks have that option to fall back on as the buyout market starts to fill up over the coming weeks.

There’s no question that Tucker will help a contending team where his defensive services will shine and he’ll provide just enough shooting from either corner spots to be a useful floor spacer. The interest in Tucker is far from a surprise and with few true sellers standing on the market, the Rockets are clearly looking to acquire as many valuable assets as they can.

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This all comes with the territory of trade negotiations and known suitors playing out in the public and the Rockets will do their best to hold out until the bitter end for the best deal they can field. But any sort of trade package that includes DiVincenzo is too rich for the Bucks’ blood, given they need some internal core to sustain this era of Bucks basketball.