Thu, Mar 18, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
Following an impressive overtime victory against the top team in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks added P.J. Tucker from the Houston Rockets for the stretch run. The Bucks are just 1.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers and the Brooklyn Nets for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee overcame a 19-point deficit to force overtime in their game with the 76ers earlier this week before coming out victorious 109-105. The Bucks have won five straight and are 9-1 in their last 10 games played to pull into third place in the conference.
Tucker had recently stepped away from the Rockets in an agreement with the organization until he could be traded. Tucker joined Houston three-and-a-half years ago and performed well as a role player. He is in the final year of a four-year contract and had played in 267 straight games until missing two in February due to a bruised thigh.
In the trade, the Bucks get Tucker along with Rodions Kurucs. Houston receives D.J. Augustin and D.J. Wilson. Draft picks swapped by the two teams this past summer were also redirected as part of the deal.
During his tenure in Houston, Tucker has averaged 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He has struggled this season after the trades of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, averaging only 4.4 points per game, a 36.6 field-goal percentage, and a 31.4 three-point percentage, all of which are career lows.
Tucker goes from a team on an 18-game losing streak and one of the worst records in the league to a team battling for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. He joins a team that has more than double the wins his former team has.
"P.J. Tucker checks all the boxes," Bucks general manager Jon Horst said in a statement. "He's a great teammate who brings a veteran presence with playoff experience."
There has not been any word on whether or not Tucker will look to sign an extension with Milwaukee, or even if Milwaukee would open the discussions on their end. With Tucker in the final year of his contract, he very well could wind up being a rental for the stretch run and the playoffs for the Bucks.
Milwaukee hosts the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, March 20. It is not known if Tucker will be available to make his debut for the Bucks on Saturday night or not. If Tucker is available and makes his debut, expect him to get right into the action.
Don’t expect this move to alter the odds for the Bucks much at all when it comes to winning the Eastern Conference or the NBA Title. This is a very good move for a team that needs strong role players to come off the bench and eat up critical minutes, but it won’t help them get over the hump. Milwaukee will likely add another player or two soon, most likely via free agency buyouts.