Jim Mone/Associated Press
Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker made it clear Tuesday that he wants a contract extension as soon as possible.
When asked about his contract situation by Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Tucker said: “It’s now. It’s time for my extension right now, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I’m optimistic; we’ll see.”
The 34-year-old Tucker has spent the past two seasons in Houston, and he is slated to make just over $8.3 million in 2019-20. His contract is only partially guaranteed for the 2020-21 season. Assuming he is retained, he’d become a free agent in 2021 if he doesn’t sign an extension before then.
Tucker has been a key role player during his two seasons with the Rockets. He has not missed a game and has provided Houston with 3.0 defensive win shares in each of his two campaigns with the team.
After starting just 34 games in 2017-18, Tucker started all 82 games last season and finished with averages of 7.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 assists. Although he shot just 39.6 percent from the field, he connected on a respectable 37.7 percent of his attempts from long range and made a career-high 1.8 trifectas per game.
Tucker also elevated his game to another level during the playoffs with averages of 11.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 assists in 11 games. Tucker knocked down 45.6 percent of his tries from deep as well.
Westbrook and fellow NBA MVP James Harden will undoubtedly run the show offensively for Houston in 2019-20, but Tucker still figures to be a key cog defensively alongside fast-rising center Clint Capela.
Tucker withdrew from consideration for Team USA’s FIBA World Cup roster last week due to a minor left ankle injury that isn’t expected to impact his readiness for training camp.
While Tucker’s importance to the Rockets is clear, an extension may not be in the cards since the organization has about $124 million each committed to Harden and Westbrook through 2022.