As both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers have engaged in trade talks subjecting James Harden, one key player came up being brought out.
Sources have told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto that P.J. Tucker has emerged as another subject in the Harden discussions of both the Sixers and the Clippers. According to the insider, Los Angeles does “covet” Tucker’s defensive reputation and versatility in guarding top offensive opponents.
Tucker, a long-time teammate and a familiar ally of Harden dating back to their Houston Rockets days, joined the 76ers in last year’s offseason via three-year, $33 million deal.
Last 2022-23 season, he averaged 3.5 points and 3.9 boards to go with 39.3 percent shooting from outside the line.
This reported interest by the Clippers on Tucker sounds enticing since the club is hesitant to give up Terance Mann and some key draft capitals just for them to acquire Harden.
The 76ers have placed a massively high price tag on Harden, and any further potential inclusion of a piece like Tucker would mean that the Clips have to attach more enticing assets and salary-matching pieces to their offer sheet for the All-Star.
Still, a hypothetical acquisition of Tucker — alongside Harden — would further solidify the Clippers’ defensive dynamics with both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George already activated at the wing spot. The veteran, despite the fact that he already lost some significant step last season, can still be relied on with his rugged body, toughness and hustling demeanor.
Tucker also boasts that infectious, leadership aura within and outside of the locker room which commands respect and admiration amongst his peers — one of the factors that netted him a final big payday in his career last 2022 free agency.
But as stated earlier, Tucker saw his capabilities decrease last 2022-23 season. Currently at age 39, he is set to continue declining performance-wise and would be owed over $22MM in the next two seasons.
As Sixers team president Daryl Morey remains convinced that they’ll take their time to follow the trade desire of Harden as they wish to obtain competitive pieces in return, the Clippers got to consider letting go of their impact role cagers and other assets just to complete their hunt for the future hall of famer, and maybe even the power forward in Tucker.