With the March 25th trade deadline now less than a month away, it's possible the Jazz look to improve their roster. A report published Friday by The Athletic stated that the Utah Jazz, along with the Denver Nuggets and Brooklyn Nets, have "sniffed around" the availability and asking price of the Houston Rockets PJ Tucker.
It's almost certain that Tucker gets moved before the trade deadline. As the Rockets continue to slide down the standings, hanging on to a sought after commodity on an expiring contract doesn't make much sense. However, it's unclear what teams are willing to offer for the 35 year old. Due to his ability to defend multiple positions and knock down perimeter shots, he has been linked to nearly every contender. He's proven that he can contribute to a winning team and be the sort of player that fills in the gaps. Further, he has shown tremendous durability with the Houston Rockets, playing a lot of minutes and often guarding players bigger than him. However, his offensive production has dipped this season, as he is averaging less than five points per game.
As the Jazz continue to blitz the league, it seems that a trade would not be necessary. However, the Jazz should consider the playoffs and how they might match up with teams like the Lakers and Clippers. While the Jazz have been great defensively so far this season, their is skepticism about their ability to defend star players such as LeBron James, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard come playoff time.
Tucker would give them another option to throw at those star wings on the perimeter. And while his shooting has been down this season, I'm confident he would FEAST on corner threes in the Jazz system. It's not so much a question of Tucker's potential fit with the Jazz and more a question of what they might have to sacrifice to get him.
The Jazz currently have 8 rotation players that are posting positive VORP (value over replacement player) averages. If you include EVERY player on contract outside of those 8: Georges Niang, Miye Oni, Elijah Hughes, Udoka Azubuike and Juwan Morgan, it still doesn't match Tuckers 7.9 million dollar contract. Therefore, the Jazz would have to either include Royce O'neale, Joe Ingles, or Derrick Favors to make a Tucker trade work. Or they would have to get a third team involved.
With the way the Jazz are currently playing it doesn't seem like it would be worth moving any of their top 8 to add another player. Especially considering that rotations always shrink in the playoffs and most teams don't rely on any more than 8 players.
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