After replenishing their stash of first-round picks by acquiring four first-rounders (and four more potential pick swaps) in their deal sending James Harden to Brooklyn, the Rockets are reportedly looking to stockpile second-round picks if they move forward P.J. Tucker.
League sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer that the Rockets are currently demanding three second-round picks in return for Tucker, who has been receiving trade interest from teams around the NBA.
Tucker is a strong, versatile defender and a reliable three-point shooter who is making just $8MM this season, making him an ideal fit for any contender. On the other hand, he’s 35 years old and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so teams may be reluctant to meet Houston’s asking price.
Houston previously traded away its second-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2027. The team has acquired Golden State’s 2024 second-round selection and has the ability to swap second-round picks with Philadelphia in 2021, but would benefit from landing two or three extra second-rounders for Tucker — those picks could be used to draft cheap young talent in future seasons or could help grease the wheels on future trades.
The Sixers were reportedly prepared to surrender Simmons and Matisse Thybulle, but were said to be reluctant to part with Maxey and apparently felt Houston’s final asking price was too high. It’s also unclear how willing Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was to send Harden to Philadelphia, where former Houston GM Daryl Morey is the Sixers’ new president of basketball operations.