ESPN sources say Toronto is among the teams expressing trade interest in Suns swingman P.J. Tucker in advance of the Feb. 18 trade deadline— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 3, 2016
Given Suns have continued to hold out for quality pick or player for disgruntled Markieff Morris, expect them to seek nice pick for Tucker— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 3, 2016
In 50 games this season, the 30-year-old Tucker has averaged 6.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 40 percent from the field (and 35 percent from three) in 29.2 minutes per game. These numbers are all down from the recent career-resurgent years Tucker had when the Suns as a team were still looking at a bright future. That bright future is gone now.
As it stands, the Suns are clearly one of the top sellers on the market. They just fired Jeff Hornacek, their head coach, and have been linked to more "disgruntled" players than any other franchise in the league. Their top prize trade asset remains Markieff Morris (who also is probably a target for the Raptors) but Tucker would bring a similar rugged defensive game, and a jack-of-all-trades utility to any team.
For Toronto, the benefit here is fairly modest. Tucker could play in small ball lineups at the power forward spot, or act as insurance in case (god forbid) DeMarre Carroll comes back at less than 100 percent. He's not having a great year and he's got another year on his contract (at $5.3 million), but he does have a value.
That said, the Raptors only considerable trade chip is their extra first round draft pick (either in the low teens or mid-20s, presumably) and, maybe, Patrick Patterson, who already does much of what Tucker does (with better, if inconsistent, three-point shooting). To my mind, any Tucker deal feels a bit lateral.
(Funny note here though: P.J. Tucker came into the league as a Raptor and then disappeared for five years to play pro ball in Israel, Ukraine, Germany, Greece and Italy.)
Stein has also reported what we've all long known: the Raptors are interested in the Suns' Markieff Morris.
Toronto, I'm told, also showing interest in Suns' Markieff Morris; PHX widely seen as a LOCK to do at least one deal before Feb. 18 deadline— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 3, 2016
Before his career took a mood-related nose dive off a cliff, Morris was averaging 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 46.5 percent from the field (and 32 percent from three). The current season, the one where everything in Phoenix that could go wrong has gone wrong -- with Markieff at the spiritual centre of most of the team's problems -- has been a rough one. It seems a change of scenery would do him some good. Is Toronto that new scene?
Again, it seems a forgone conclusion that any trade would have to include Patterson, one of the first round draft picks, and possibly even James Johnson, or some combination of Norman Powell and Delon Wright to make it work. I'll let the armchair GMs work that out.
What do you guys think?