Milwaukee is making some roster adjustments ahead of a playoff push.
The Bucks are acquiring forwards P.J. Tucker and Rodions Kurucs and reacquiring their own 2022 first-round pick from the Rockets in exchange for veteran point guard D.J. Augustin, forward D.J. Wilson, the Bucks’ 2023 unprotected first-round draft pick, and the right to swap the Rockets’ 2021 second-round pick for Milwaukee’s first-round draft pick (top-nine protected), reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
The deal will add Tucker to the Bucks’ frontcourt, giving the team a strong, versatile defender to match up with opposing forwards and big men in the second half and in the postseason. After three-and-a-half seasons in Houston, the 35-year-old reached an agreement with the team last week that allowed him to remain away from the Rockets while they sought a trade for him.
Tucker hasn’t contributed much on offense this season, averaging a career-low 4.4 PPG with a .314 3PT% in 32 games (30.0 MPG), but he’s still a solid defender and could be rejuvenated by a change of scenery that gets him to a contender.
The Rockets, losers of 17 straight games, clearly appear to be in asset acquisition mode now. The deal should allow them to move up at least a few spots in the 2021 draft, as they’ll swap their second-round pick for Milwaukee’s first-rounder. By reacquiring their 2022 first-round pick from Houston, the Bucks are able to surrender both their 2021 and 2023 first-rounders in this deal without violating the Stepien rule.
While the Rockets were rumored to be seeking a young impact player in exchange for Tucker, that was always considered an ambitious goal, given the forward’s recent decline. But the club will get a chance to look at a former first-rounder in Wilson before he becomes eligible for restricted free agency in the summer.
It’s not yet clear what Houston’s plan for Augustin is, but he’s the one player in the deal who is owed guaranteed money beyond this season, with a $7M guaranteed salary for 2021-22 and a non-guaranteed $7.3M salary in ’22-23. He could provide depth at the point guard spot for the Rockets or be rerouted to a new team at some point.
The Bucks have also reportedly agreed to send Torrey Craig to the Suns and will now have two open roster spots. They’ll go from about $442K below the hard cap to $3.5M below, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), so they’ll have a little more breathing room to fill out their 15-man roster via trade or on the buyout market.