The Bucks were pursuing Rockets forward P.J. Tucker in November and their interest hasn’t faded, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Tucker could help solidify a defense that has taken a step backward with the offseason losses of Wesley Matthews, Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, as well as the absence of Jrue Holiday, who has been in the NBA’s health and safety protocols since February 8. O’Connor notes that Donte DiVincenzo, Bryn Forbes and D.J. Augustin haven’t supplied the same presence on defense.
Tucker is considered to be available because of his age — he turns 36 in May — and his contract status. He will be a free agent this summer, and the Rockets’ attempts to sign him to an extension have been unsuccessful. Houston’s seven-game losing streak has the organization focused on building for the future.
However, the Rockets reportedly want a player in return, rather than more draft picks, which may be problem for Milwaukee. The Bucks gave most of their valuable assets to New Orleans in the deal for Holiday and may not have expendable young players who would be of interest to Houston. DiVincenzo is viewed around the league as their most valuable remaining trade chip, O’Connor notes.
O’Connor sheds light on a few more potential deals:
- The Sixers, who hold the best record in the East, are hoping to make “major moves” before the March 25 trade deadline to improve their chances of winning a title. A name to watch, according to O’Connor, is Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, a Philadelphia native with an expiring contract. O’Connor states that the Sixers need a veteran guard who can create shots on the perimeter, and Lowry is likely the best option who could be considered available.
- O’Connor confirms that the Wizards won’t make Bradley Beal available before the deadline, although the Celtics would be among the most interested teams if he were. Beal and Jayson Tatum have been friends since childhood, and the NBA’s leading scorer would give Boston a scary Big Three by teaming with Tatum and Jaylen Brown. However, O’Connor expects Beal and the Wizards to work out their future during the offseason.
- Celtics fans may be wishing for Nikola Vucevic to solidify the team at center, but the Magic have shown no interest in trading him, executives around the league tell O’Connor. He remains the focus of the offense in Orlando and a favorite of the coaching staff.
- O’Connor suggests Harrison Barnes could be a possibility for Boston if the Kings decide to part with him, or possibly Rockets guard Victor Oladipo if Boston is willing to give up assets despite reports that he wants to be in Miami. O’Connor believes Bulls forward Thaddeus Young is a more realistic target. The Celtics could absorb his $13.545MM salary with a portion of their traded player exception, and he would cost less in terms of assets than some of their other targets.