Bucks acquire Houston stopper P.J. Tucker and swap draft picks in a pair of pregame trades

Jim Owczarski
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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P.J. Tucker, 35, is a 6-foot-5-inch, 245-pound defensive stopper who has played the last four years for the Houston Rockets.

PHILADELPHIA – D.J. Wilson, D.J. Augustin and Torrey Craig warmed up before the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers took the court at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday night.

Shortly thereafter, they were not with the team for pregame introductions. The Journal Sentinel confirmed Bucks general manager Jon Horst once again revamped the roster with a pair of trades.

The first was with Houston, as ESPN first reported the deal that sent Wilson and Augustin to Houston for P.J. Tucker and Rodions Kurucs, along with a swap of draft picks.

The Athletic clarified the draft pick portion of the deal. Houston receives Milwaukee’s 2021 and 2023 first-round draft picks while the Bucks have acquired the Rockets’ 2021 second-round selection and their 2022 first-round pick. 

Tucker, 35, is a 6-foot-5-inch, 245-pound defensive stopper. His addition allowed the Bucks to move Craig, who went to Phoenix for cash considerations.

Craig is a 6-7, 221-pound wing defender who was signed in the offseason to fill that "stopper" role but never gained traction in the rotation. He missed time with a broken nose but only averaged 11.2 minutes in 18 games.

Tucker was originally a second-round pick by Toronto in the 2006 draft and is playing on a $7.9 million expiring contract.

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After playing six games in his rookie season with the Raptors, he spent five seasons in Europe before returning to the NBA in 2012. He has played for Phoenix and Toronto and spent the last four seasons in Houston. Noted for his defense, Tucker is a career 42% shooter,  35.9% from the three-point range, while averaging 7.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

He has started every game he’s played the last three seasons, averaging 35 minutes.

Tucker has been an above-average defender for his career with a 108 defensive rating, though he has posted a career-worst 113 thus far this season. After posting a 107 defensive rating through the first seven years of his career he has slipped to 111 the last three. He has improved offensively in that time, however (112 rating).

He has not played since March 11 when he and the team agreed he would be moved.

Kurucs is a 6-9, 228-pound forward who was a second-round pick of the Brooklyn Nets in 2018. In 126 career games he has shot 44.2% and 32.3% from three-point range. He has played in only 11 games for the Rockets this season.

The trade marks the end of Wilson’s career in Milwaukee after just under four seasons, as the first-round pick (No. 17 in 2017) never quite found a home on the court.

He had worked his way into the rotation in his second season, averaging 18.4 minutes per game in 2018-19. But the last two years he has tumbled to the end of the bench, averaging 9.8 minutes per game last season and has only appeared in 12 games this year.

Wilson is playing on the $4.5 million final year of his rookie contract.

Augustin, 33, was signed in the offseason to solidify the backup point guard position. He commanded a three-year, $21 million deal but did not find a consistent comfort level playing off the ball. The 13-year veteran played his best when he started in place of Jrue Holiday (health and safety protocols). He shot 37% from the floor and 38% from behind the three-point line in 37 games while averaging 6.1 points and 3.0 assists per game.

As a result of the trade, the Bucks had 12 players available for their game with the 76ers.

Check back for more on this story. 

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