P.J. Tucker
P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets Getty Images | Christian Petersen

KEY POINTS

  • PJ Tucker has been traded from the Houston Rockets to the Milwaukee Bucks
  • Tucker played the last four seasons with the Rockets and was part of the 2018 squad that made the Western Conference Finals
  • Tucker is averaging 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds this season 

On Wednesday evening, it was reported that the Houston Rockets had traded veteran forward PJ Tucker to the Milwaukee Bucks.

In the deal, the struggling Rockets sent Tucker and Rodion Kurucs to the Bucks for DJ Augustin, DJ Wilson, and a pick swap.

The Tucker trade came as no surprise as the nine-year NBA vet had reportedly been displeased with how the Rockets had handled his contract extension at the start of the 2020-2021 NBA season.

Last week, Tucker and the Rockets had reportedly agreed to part ways, signaling that a move was imminent.

He becomes the second long-time Rocket to depart from Houston this season, following in the footsteps of James Harden, who essentially forced a trade to the Brooklyn Nets back in January.

With Harden and Tucker now gone, Eric Gordon remains the lone piece left from the Rockets’ historic 65-win season and Western Conference Finals run back in 2018.

This season has been nothing short of a disaster for the Rockets, who have lost 18-straight games and are at 14th in the Western Conference.

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For Tucker, his departure from Houston means a shift from one of the worst teams in the league to a legitimate title contender. The gritty forward will now be playing alongside two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, two-time All-Star Khris Middleton, and the Bucks, who are third in the Eastern Conference.

But what can the Bucks expect from the 35-year old Tucker, who's averaging 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds this season?

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets loses the ball as he is pressured by P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets and Victor Oladipo #7
James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets loses the ball as he is pressured by P.J. Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets and Victor Oladipo #7 Getty Images | Bob Levey

Well, apart from a nightly display of sneaker supremacy and the occasional corner three-pointer, Tucker also brings an unmatched level of heart and grit. Simply put, he has “a lot of dog in him”, as the NBA players would put it.

Tucker isn’t going to be a scoring option for the Bucks, but he will be a defensive anchor and vocal leader on and off the floor, and that’s what helped him keep a starting spot in Houston for the last four seasons.

Tucker also has a knack for coming up with big plays--be it a clutch putback or a crucial rebound--when it matters the most.

As the cliche goes, Tucker’s value to a team doesn’t appear on the box scores.

Probably the most important aspect that Tucker brings to the table is that he isn’t afraid to hold even the biggest stars--like Harden, Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook--accountable for their mistakes on the court, and he will likely be the same with Antetokounmpo.

With the Bucks looking to go on another deep postseason run, they will need all the veteran leadership that they can get, and Tucker has that in spades.

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