With days to go before the official start of free agency, the NBA rumor mill is heating up.
“For starters, P.J. Tucker, the undeniable glue of the team, has been irate over his contract situation all season long, sources said,” wrote Kelly Iko, Sam Amick, and Shams Charania of The Athletic. “Tucker, who signed for around $8 million a season back in 2017, has seen other ‘Three-and-D’ wings around the league receive paydays in less important situations than a key starter for a contender and believes he is worthy of a raise, sources said. Tucker, sources said, has stated his intent to finish his career as a Rocket for a long time but felt insulted by Houston’s decision to delay extension discussions and wait until after the Feb. 6 trade deadline to guarantee his 2020-21 salary.”
Tucker has been a key role player for a Rockets team that has been among the league’s elite for the last few years.
His ability to defend, rebound and hit 3-pointers has been an asset for a squad that attempts about half of its shots from downtown.
If Tucker is so unhappy that he wants out of Southeast Texas, it could be part of a wholesale dismantling of the Rockets.
After coming within one game short of advancing to the NBA Finals in 2018, the Rockets have been eliminated in the second round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.