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Rumor: Timberwolves eyeing P.J. Tucker trade now that James Harden is out in Houston

Timberwolves, P.J. Tucker, James Harden

Now that the Houston Rockets have traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, the Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping that another veteran wing in H-Town could be available, too.

According to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, the Wolves have their sights set on 3-and-D forward P.J. Tucker.

Minnesota is hoping to get tougher and more formidable on defense, hence the interest in Tucker. The interest has been there for a while:

“The Timberwolves have been monitoring P.J. Tucker’s situation in Houston since before the draft, and there now is reason to believe that the Rockets’ rugged frontcourt fire hydrant is finally available,” Krawczynski writes. “The Rockets finally relented to James Harden’s trade demand, and that should open the door for them to move the 35-year-old Tucker. The Wolves have maintained contact with the Rockets on Tucker and were expected to re-engage now that Harden is gone.”

Tucker can guard multiple positions, including centers, and is a 36.3 percent 3-point shooter for his career. He has been hot through 10 games in 2020-21, knocking down 55.6 percent of his triples, though the volume has been lower than normal.

At the moment, Minnesota is slim at power forward. Juancho Hernangomez has been starting, but he has really struggled and there’s no proven depth behind him.

Tucker is making $8 million in the final year of his deal, which makes him an enticing trade target, especially for contenders. The Timberwolves will surely face competition for his services on the market, per The Athletic’s Kelly Iko.

Even if Minnesota didn’t retain Tucker beyond this season, the organization seemingly believes his veteran presence and skill set could significantly bolster the team’s young roster.

Krawczynski notes that if Houston is looking to recoup draft capital in a trade package for Tucker — even after adding multiple future first-rounders and pick swaps from Brooklyn — Minnesota may be out of luck, as the Golden State Warriors own the team’s 2021 pick (top-three protected). However, the Timberwolves could potentially offer younger role players.

Minnesota (3-8) is currently at the bottom of the standings in the West.