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Rumor: Rockets courting multiple trade suitors for P.J. Tucker, ready to blow up former identity

Rockets, P.J. Tucker trade

The Houston Rockets already signaled a major transition when they traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. It might be a matter of time before the organization totally strips itself of its old identity.

Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports numerous teams have interest in Rockets forward P.J. Tucker ahead of next month’s trade deadline. The veteran was a candidate to move after Houston shipped Harden out of town, and he might soon be headed elsewhere:

Following Harden’s trade to the Nets, The Athletic reported on several teams inquiring about Tucker’s availability. As the trade deadline approaches, that interest is still alive and well around the league from contenders. Sources say teams such as Brooklyn, Utah and Denver all have sniffed around, and there certainly will be other contenders looking to improve heading into the second half of the season (both Los Angeles teams come to mind). Tucker is still a player who can help a winning team, likely more valuable to organizations with deep playoff runs in mind than a team like Houston that is transitioning.

The Rockets had begun preliminary extension talks with Tucker’s camp in December, but that was before Houston showed a more concerted interest in moving Harden.

Tucker is on an expiring contract. The Rockets (11-19) are 14th in the Western Conference and currently without a clear direction, with Victor Oladipo also possibly on his way out. Houston might be wise to move Tucker, a gritty, undersized forward who can rebound and shoot the 3-ball. Tucker’s salary (nearly $8 million) also makes him an appealing target as a more affordable option for contending teams currently strapped for cash.

Realistically, the Rockets’ old identity seemed to dissipate when both Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey departed, and then Harden wasn’t long behind them. The old era of Rockets basketball could go totally by the wayside if Tucker is traded.