The Milwaukee Bucks have been looking for answers defensively for much of the season, and if their struggles continue, perhaps they may seek external help.
The dream targets floating around currently are Alex Caruso and Dorian Finney-Smith, and while the Bucks would love to get their hands on either of those, they likely would face a tall order coming out on top in a bidding war. Looking around the league, one target who may be more attainable is a player with some experience playing in Milwaukee: P.J. Tucker.
Since being traded to the LA Clippers alongside James Harden earlier this season, Tucker's role has regressed each day, it seems. Tucker currently isn't in the rotation, which has led many to speculate whether or not the forward could be had if someone called. It's unclear what their plans are for the veteran, but the Milwaukee Bucks should at least keep tabs on the situation.
Of course, Tucker was a crucial cog for the Bucks in 2021, having come over at the trade deadline before becoming a full-time starter throughout most of the playoffs. The Bucks went on to win the title that season, but Tucker left the following off-season in what was a messy breakup. Perhaps the front office could look to make amends by bringing him back for another go-round.
Bucks should monitor former fan-favorite stuck on Clippers' bench
Tucker would give the Bucks an added boost on the defensive end. He's a 6-foot-6 forward who can defend multiple positions, showcasing the versatility he possesses. A player like that, especially one with as much hard-earned experience as Tucker, would fit in seamlessly with this group. His time with the franchise previously could help him get acclimated fast as well.
Now, to be clear, Tucker is not some perfect target; there's a reason he's not in the rotation. He's been far from his best this season. The forward hasn't scored a single points since Nov. 14, and even if he's not known for his offense, that's tough to stomach. At 38, Tucker is not the player he once was, even on the defensive end.
Despite all of that, he'd make sense for the Bucks. This team needs versatile defenders who can take on tough assignments, such as the wings in Boston and Miami, and Tucker can help with that. A duo of Tucker and Jae Crowder could give Milwaukee two incredibly experienced veterans known for their tough defense and communication skills.
His offensive numbers are undoubtedly ugly - 1.3 points while shooting 31.6 percent from the floor and 31.3 percent from three this season - but the Bucks wouldn't be bringing him in to score the ball. If he could simply play tough defense and inject some energy into the team when he's on the floor, it would help this group out a ton.
The question is how might the Bucks go about getting Tucker. He's making $11 million this season, which is steep for a player currently not in the rotation. Would the Bucks be fine with moving one of Pat Connaughton or Bobby Portis? Likely not. A buyout would make more sense, but the Bucks don't have the space for that right now.
Ultimately, this article is not a call for the Bucks to immediately try to trade for Tucker. Instead, they should simply keep an eye on the situation as they continue to work out the kinks defensively. The Bucks have seen what the veteran forward can help them achieve before.
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