The 2021 NBA Trade Deadline is at the end of this month which means rumors will start to heat up, especially with the All-Star break here. The Lakers have mostly been out of the speculation this season given their lack of flexibility and their already loaded roster but there is still one player whom they have been linked with for weeks now.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers are among several contenders including the Nets, Bucks, Nuggets, and Heat to “express interest” in trading for Rockets forward PJ Tucker. According to Charania, teams believe that Tucker will be moved “sooner than later” depending on the Rockets’ asking price which, as of right now, includes a young player.
For the Lakers, that would probably mean parting ways with promising guard Talen Horton-Tucker. While the 20-year-old has had some struggles lately as he has been thrust into the Lakers’ rotation due to injuries, the franchise has clearly shown its belief that he could be a very valuable piece for the future. Tucker could represent a win-now piece that provides versatility and toughness but it’s hard to see the Lakers make a rash decision to bring him to LA at the expense of a high-ceiling talent like Horton-Tucker.
Meanwhile, Tucker is in a down year after showing his value for the extremely small-ball Rockets last year. This season, the 35-year-old is averaging just 4.4 points per game and shooting 36.6 percent from the field, including 31.4 percent from deep. The Rockets have lost 13 in a row and are the second worst team in the West. Perhaps in a better situation, Tucker can regain his form and contribute to a potential championship-winning campaign but that is a risk that teams desiring to acquire him, including the Lakers, have to assess.