As the 2021 NBA All-Star break approaches, that also means the period of trade and buyout season is upon us. The 2021 NBA All-Star Game will be March 7th, while the trade deadline is March 25th and the last day to waive players is April 9th. The Lakers are already rumored to be looking at one player, as they were tied to DeMarcus Cousins shortly after it was announced that he and the Rockets would be parting ways in the coming days. They were then connected to yet another Rockets player, as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported the Lakers’ interest in P.J. Tucker in the pre-show for the Lakers-Heat game on Saturday night.
Here’s what Wojnarowski said during the appearance on ABC/ESPN’s NBA Countdown (per Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll):
“The Lakers have been active. I know they’ve made calls about some wing players to see if there is some shooting available out there. Another player they’re interested in: P.J. Tucker, from the Houston Rockets. There’s a lot of interest among contenders in Tucker, who’s in the last year of his deal. The Miami Heat, who the Lakers play tonight, Milwaukee, Brooklyn, several others. One thing I’m told is that Houston wants back not picks, but a player that they can plug back into their lineup.”
A deal between the Lakers and Rockets for P.J. Tucker would be interesting. As Wojnarowski notes, Tucker is in the last year of his deal and is being paid $7.9M for the 2020-21 season. If the Rockets wanted a player to inject into their lineup, sending Montrezl Harrell ($9.2M 2020-21 salary) to the Rockets could work. The Lakers could also attach Kyle Kuzma in the deal and possibly receive an additional role player from the Rockets such as Danuel House.
This is all speculatory, as no one really knows how each franchise views their respective players as it stands. It’d be pretty surprising to see the Lakers trade Harrell, especially since he has performed up to his expectations, if not outperforming them slightly. Still, Tucker would give the Lakers a very dynamic defender that they may not have on the roster aside from Anthony Davis. He can arguably defend the 2-5 positions, if not 1-5. Coincidentally enough, he was tasked with the hard job of guarding Davis for an entire 2020 Playoffs series.
We’ll keep you updated on all trade and buyout rumors with the Lakers as they’re reported.