With the trade deadline quickly approaching in the NBA, one of the biggest names on the market in PJ Tucker is now headed to Milwaukee after a deal was finalized Wednesday night. As trade season heats up, a deeper look into the trade of one of the most coveted role players on the market.
What This Means for the Bucks
While not as dominant as the past two regular seasons, the Bucks are still having a strong season, sitting at 3rd in the East with a record of 26-14 and only 1.5 games back from the #1 seed. The acquisition of Tucker gives Milwaukee a versatile veteran defender that can also knock down threes consistently. Tucker was a key role player in Houston's success from 2018 to 2020, unlocking the Rockets' ability to downside and play small by knocking down shots when open (especially from the corner 3 spots), while also providing good rebounding for his size, and having the strength to guard effectively inside, but the lateral quickness to cover guards and big wings on the perimeter. Tucker will be expected to provide the same traits for a Milwaukee team that looks to be all-in on a championship pursuit. Tucker is only posting 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds while connecting on only 31.4 percent of his threes this season, but part of that can be contributed to a lack of motivation after it became clear this season that Houston was not a contender this season. Tucker will also get more open, easier looks when playing in the 5th best offense that the Bucks have alongside Giannis Antetokoumpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday. When motivated, Tucker has proven he can be a key player on a championship-caliber team, making this a great move for the Milwaukee Bucks. Expect the Bucks to still be active on the trade market as they look for more ways to improve their team with the deadline and buyout market quickly approaching, particularly for a backup to Jrue Holiday after dealing away veteran D.J. Augustin in this deal.
What This Means for the Rockets
For the Rockets, they continue their progress into the rebuilding phase since the Harden trade by stocking more young talent in D.J. Wilson along with extra draft capital. Getting back a first round pick for Tucker was key as they were able to meet their asking price of a young player and a future first. The Rockets are currently enduring the worst losing streak in franchise history that reached 18 straight last night against the Warriors. Tucker represents the last piece of the 2018 Rockets team that pushed the juggernaut Warriors to the brink in Game 7 of an amazing Western Conference Finals series. In the new era today with Stephen Silas as head coach, the team will have to make its decision on guard Victor Oladipo soon, who is a free agent at the end of the season and declined an extension from the team earlier in the year. D.J. Wilson will get a chance to prove himself in Houston as an athletic forward who can space the floor after falling out of favor in Milwaukee, which could be a solid reward for the Rockets that carries little risk.