We already know that the Lakers have been “touting” the buyout market, and may follow DeMarcus Cousins after being bought out by the Houston Rockets, but obviously he is not the only player they are interested in.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski when he appeared before the NBA Countdown game, the Lakers are also trying to watch PJ Tucker:
“The Lakers have always been active. I know they have called some wide players to see if there are shot opportunities there. Another player they are interested in: PJ Tucker of the Houston Rockets. It was traded by Tucker. The last year attracted the interest of many contenders. Tonight the Lakers’ Miami Heat, Milwaukee, Brooklyn and several others. One thing I’ve been told is that Houston doesn’t want to pass back the picks, but they want them. Players who can rejoin the lineup.”;
Considering that they just got a bunch of picks from James Harden, and the Rockets can still leave Victor Oladipo behind, the Rockets’ stance makes sense. At 11-17, Houston had only two games in the tenth seed in the Western Conference (also playoff playoffs). They may at least want to seize this opportunity and have little motivation to tank.
So from the Lakers’ perspective, what will this deal look like? Well, on the one hand, Tucker has one year and $7.9 million left on his current contract, and he is frustrated because the Rockets did not renew him at the age of 35. Therefore, if the Lakers really want him, they may need to consider paying him at some point if they want him to fully buy in.
Tucker’s transaction price will also be a factor, as they may have to break up with the recently expanded Kyle Kuzma, because in Houston’s position, not many other players can make a lot. Feeling is an asset. In theory, Talen Horton-Tucker will also become a young player because he can now play for a short time and can hang upside down, but his contract makes it difficult to reach a deal. The Lakers won’t have multiple rotation players or some type of 4-in-1 swap to make the transaction a salary. Neither option seems to be a surreal choice. The Rockets had also been interested in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope before, but that was two years ago, under different management, so who knows that this is still the case. It is also difficult to complete del’s work with his $12 million salary, and this transaction will not turn into a larger transaction consisting of multiple works.
Therefore, if it is not obvious from the previous paragraph, I don’t know if the Lakers are willing to break up with any player, or who they are willing to give up, but if they do want Tucker, with the help of ESPN’s trading machine, they have the library. What a theoretical transaction of Zima characteristics might look like:
Will the Lakers be willing to trade Kuzma soon after extending him? To what extent do they think Tucker can help them improve their defensive capabilities and increase their chances of reoffending? We don’t know, but it is worth noting that despite Kuzma’s many improvements as a defender, Tucker’s data is still better. According to statistics provided by InStat, Tucker, as an isolated defender, ranks 98% in the NBA’s percentile rankings in defensive sports, and ranks high in the following areas:
- Help defense: 95%
- Pick-and-roll defense: 96%
- After defense: 92%
- Theft: 92nd percentile
- Guarding the screen: 83rd percentile
Kuzma certainly has more room for future development than Tucker, but Tucker is entirely possible to win the Lakers this year, especially considering that they are the two biggest obstacles to the rematch (except for health). They are tall and tall. Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets. Can Tucker give them a better chance to beat these teams than Kuzma? As the trading deadline on March 25 approaches quickly, they have to decide another thing to answer.
Unless they can get Tucker for less money, that’s it. If this happens, we can only say the word that has become more and more common in the past year: excellent work, Rob Pelinka.
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