According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Clippers offered a second-round pick for Suns forward P.J. Tucker. The Suns are reportedly asking for a first-round pick in exchange for Tucker, but it’s unclear if there are any teams willing to cough up that level of asset for a 31-year-old wing with an expiring contract. L.A. was just burned last year when they traded a future first for Jeff Green, who was on an expiring contract and then walked in free agency.
Here’s Stein on the Clippers’ interest:
The Clippers have offered a future second-round pick for Suns forward P.J. Tucker -- who is said to have a not-so-secret admirer in Doc Rivers -- but sources say Phoenix is holding out for a first-rounder in exchange for the rugged defensive specialist.
This follows up a report from earlier this week, when we shared a report from Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro that the Clippers were among teams interested in acquiring Tucker.
So far, nobody has budged and offered a first-round pick, and I don’t think that anyone will, so it will likely come down to Phoenix to decide if they’d rather risk losing Tucker for nothing in unrestricted free agency, or ship him out for some sort of asset.
As far as salary goes, the Clippers would likely have to include Wesley Johnson along with that second round pick. Tucker makes just less than Johnson, and Paul Pierce’s contract isn’t enough for salary matching. LAC could opt to send another player with Pierce (anyone but Diamond Stone makes the trade legal), but the only probably candidate would be Alan Anderson, who hasn’t consistently made it into the Clippers’ rotation. Phoenix might actually prefer a Pierce/Anderson package to Wesley Johnson’s guaranteed salary for next season, since the prize the Suns actually covet is the future pick.
Doc’s interest in Tucker marks the continuation of the Clippers’ age-old search for an improved small forward. Currently, L.A.’s roster only features one player who inspires confidence at the position—Luc Mbah a Moute. Everyone else drawing minutes at small forward is either undersized or insufficient.