According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the Sacramento Kings have secured a face-to-face meeting with free agent forward P.J. Tucker this weekend.
The Kings, who have started a new era in Sactown with the selections of De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles in the 2017 NBA Draft, would be adding a six-year NBA veteran who has played professionally for 11 years. With Buddy Hield and Skal Labissiere as headliners, the Kings need a player with experience and toughness to help guide the young roster.
Tucker averaged 7.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game last season while playing for the Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors. While known for his defensive tenacity both on the perimeter and in the post, Tucker is also able to make modest contributions on offense.
He’s not the most consistent three-point shooter but with a career average of 35.1 percent from behind-the-line, he’s solid. He made 37.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes last season and like Justin Jackson, he’d help provide spacing and be a solid off-ball outlet for the speedy Fox as he drives.
To readdress Tucker’s defense, head coach Dave Joerger came from a defensive juggernaut in the Memphis Grizzlies and it’s not improbable that he’d want to instill some of that same defensive toughness in the young Kings. While Fox has the tools to be a great defender, he’d benefit from watching how Tucker works on the perimeter. Jackson, Malachi Richardson and, to an extent, Labisierre, could learn from Tucker as well.
Tucker made $5.3 million last season after signing a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Phoenix Suns in 2014. Because the Sacramento Kings are under the salary cap, they could sign Tucker to the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception, worth up to $8.4 million annually (four year maximum).