Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker is withdrawing from USA Basketball ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China because of an ankle injury, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
Tucker will rehab and then prepare for Rockets training camp.
Houston’s PJ Tucker is withdrawing from USA Basketball ahead of FIBA World Cup because of an ankle injury, and will prepare for Rockets training camp, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 16, 2019
The Rockets are probably privately happy about this. Houston, after acquiring former MVP Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer, is title contenders and needs everyone on the roster healthy and fresh for the 2019-20 season.
PJ Tucker will make $8.3 million next season. He signed a four-year, $31.9 million deal with the Rockets in the summer of 2017.
Last season, Tucker averaged 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists while shooting 39.6 percent from the field, 37.7 percent from beyond the arc and 69.5 percent from the free-throw line. Houston lost to the Golden State Warriors in the second round of the 2019 playoffs in six games.
Kelly Iko of The Athletic is reporting Tucker thought about playing in the FIBA World Cup despite the ankle injury. After speaking to his agent, though, the Rockets’ defensive ace made the decision to withdraw. He will return to Houston on Saturday and begin his rehab.
Houston’s projected starting lineup for next season is Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker and Clint Capela.